Egyptian court orders damages for injured protester

An Egyptian court ordered the Interior Ministry on Wednesday to compensate a man who police shot in the eye during protests that toppled President Hosni Mubarak, in the first such ruling of its kind.

Police used batons, tear gas, water cannon and live ammunition against protesters in the first days of the 18-day uprising, killing nearly 850 people and wounding more than 6,000 before they were ordered off the streets and the army moved in.

Activists say the interim government has not honored a vow to compensate victims of the uprising and criticize what they perceive as slow trials for officials blamed for the bloody crackdown.

Samir Abdel Mageed, 38, lost his left eye on 28 January, the court said. It ordered the ministry to pay him 50,000 Egyptian pounds (US$8,389). Abdel Mageed had requested damages of 5 million pounds in his initial claim.

"The defendant went to Tahrir Square to demand justice and equality but was surprised to find elements of the interior ministry firing tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition at them," the court said.

Abdel Mageed paid 25,000 pounds for surgery and other medical bills and the court added a further 25,000 pounds for "moral" injury.

Former Interior Minister Habib al-Adli has been sentenced to jail for corruption but he and other officials are still being tried on charges of killing protesters. Activists and families of the victims say the process is too slow. Police vehicles were stoned at Sunday's session.

Clashes broke out late on Tuesday in the capital where some families of those killed in the uprising held an event to honor their dead. Police fired tear gas at hundreds of stone-throwing Egyptian youths later that night, leaving more than 1,000 people injured. 

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