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Egypt refers police officer to criminal court over deadly shooting of citizen

A police officer who allegedly shot dead a local Arab tribe member last week in Egypt’s northwestern Marsa Matrouh province has been referred to a criminal court.

Five locals are also facing trial in the same case over participating in riots that followed the shooting on 11 July, the public prosecution’s office said in a statement on Sunday.

Conflicting reports have emerged after the incident that broke out in Sidi Barrani town.

The prosecution said investigations indicated the police officer was part of a security campaign that combated illegal immigration and drug trafficking in the area.

“The security forces that were present on the scene were questioned and the footage of surveillance cameras was examined, all confirming the official account of events,” the prosecution said.

“When the security forces asked the man in question more than once to pull over his car; but he attempted to flee the scene,” the statement read.

“The officer fired his weapon at the vehicle tires in a bid to force the man in question to stop the vehicle, but he continued driving and got injured in the process,” the prosecution said, citing the witnesses.

Earlier reports claimed that the police officer shot the man three times after an argument, killing him instantly.

Army forces intervened to quell the unrest that erupted a few hours later, as hundreds of tribal members surrounded the local police station and the hospital where the deceased’s body was kept.

Four security forces were injured, while eight citizens were arrested. One of the detainees allegedly killed a policeman by running over him with his car, the prosecution’s office said.

The incident highlighted the perceived culture of impunity Egyptian army and police officers enjoy in the country, sparking the outrage of activists and social media users nationwide.

Earlier this month, an army captain allegedly hit a family with his car in Cairo, following a heated discussion with the parents.

The officer, who worked as a physician in the army, was referred a few days later to an urgent criminal trial before a court martial on charges of homicide and attempted murder.

Such cases of alleged abuse of power were among the main driving forces behind the 25 January Revolution in 2011 that toppled the regime of long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

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