Rare Footage Shows Shooting Death of Egyptian Protester by Police

Video and photos show 32-year-old political activist Shaimaa al-Sabbagh was shot in back
February 3, 2015 Updated: February 3, 2015

An in-depth analysis of video and photographic evidence by Human Rights Watch shows that an unarmed Egyptian protester was shot and killed by police in Cairo on January 24.

The victim in the video was 32-year-old political activist Shaimaa al-Sabbagh. She was shot in the neck, side of the face and in the back by birdshot and died on her way to the hospital. She died from wounds to her face and heart.

It is highly unusual to have such a wealth of visual evidence of an Egyptian protester being killed by police. Similar incidents have happened repeatedly since the revolution there in 2011.

“Over the last few years, hundreds of people have been killed by police in demonstrations in Egypt,” said Philippe Bolopian with Human Rights Watch in the organization’s video analysis of the woman’s death.

“Frankly, you almost never get this type of evidence to document it. You often have to rely more on eyewitnesses.”

Official Denials

Despite the combination of video, still photographs, and eyewitness accounts, Bolopian said that the Egyptian police refuse to admit any wrongdoing.

“Despite this wealth of evidence … the police is completely denying that anything happened on that day, claiming that this evidence was somehow fabricated.”

Frankly, you almost never get this type of evidence.
— Philippe Bolopian, Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch analyzed the video frame-by-frame and compared it with still photos also taken at the scene immediately after the shooting.

Other Victims on Uprising Anniversary

A second victim, 17-year-old Sondos Reda Abu Bakr was killed on the same day as al-Sabbagh.

Human Rights Watch maintains that at least 20 people were killed in January by Egyptian security forces in at various commemorations of the country’s 2011 uprising.

At least 18 people died on the actual anniversary of when the Egyptian revolution, or Arab Spring, began on January 25.