Egypt policeman to face trial in death of woman protester

CAIRO (AFP) - Egypt's state prosecutor referred on Tuesday a police officer to trial for allegedly shooting to death a leftist female protester during a peaceful rally in central Cairo.

The death of Shaima al-Sabbagh, which was partly recorded by a photographer, prompted President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to publicly demand that the perpetrator be brought to justice.

She was shot dead as police dispersed a small march of leftists on the eve of the fourth anniversary of the January 25 uprising.

The marchers had been carrying a wreath to a monument commemorating the deaths of protesters during the revolt that toppled president Hosni Mubarak.

The police officer, who was not named by the prosecution, will stand trial before a criminal court.

Policemen are accused of killing hundreds of protesters, mostly Islamists, since the army overthrew Mubarak's successor Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

The prosecutor said in a statement that an investigation had found that the policeman shot dead Sabbagh with birdshot, which police often use in crowd control.

The ammunition is lethal at close quarters.

Police had denied involvement in Sabbagh's death, suggesting that the birdshot that perforated her chest was not police-issued.