CAIRO, Egypt, June 12 – An Egyptian court sentenced a policeman to 15 years in prison, over the death of a female protester, during a leftist march earlier this year, official MENA news agency reported.

Cairo Criminal Court convicted officer, Yassin Hatem, of murdering leftist female activist, Shaimaa Sabbagh, in Jan, while the police dispersed a small rally of her Popular Alliance Party.

The young woman was shot dead by cartouche shots, as the march was heading to iconic Tahrir Square, on the eve of the anniversary of Jan 25 popular uprising that toppled ex-ruler Hosni Mubarak.

Sabbagh’s death, during a peaceful rally, triggered local and international uproar and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi ordered an urgent investigation into the incident, to hold those responsible accountable.

In mid-Mar, the prosecution referred the policeman to criminal court over the incident, that is believed to be behind the sacking of interior minister, Mohamed Ibrahim, in a recent cabinet reshuffle.

The police have been launching harsh crackdown on Islamists and activists, following the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in early July 2013, amid fears of the return of police brutality, that was a main reason for the 2011 mass protests.

In late May, an Egyptian court acquitted a police officer of torturing a young Islamist man to death, when investigating a church blast case in 2011, a few days before the turmoil that toppled Mubarak.

Earlier in Apr, two policemen were referred to a criminal court over torturing a lawyer to death, at a police station in Cairo. Their trial has recently been delayed to late July.

Interior Ministry officials always stressed that police violations were “individual acts” and that the police in general were dutiful in serving the people and the nation.