Egyptian man walks past graffiti depicting the faces of former President Mubarak and Field Marshal Tantawi in Cairo
Egypt still tense as five state security officers sentenced for torturing Sayed Bilal to death in Alexandria jail

Five police officers have been sentenced for their role in the killing of a prisoner who was tortured to death.

Mohammed Abdel Rahman Al Shimi, a member of the now dissolved State Security apparatus, was the only officer who appeared in the dock in an Alexandria court.

He was sentenced to 15 years in prison for his role in torturing Sayed Bilal to death after his arrest. The other four defendants, Hossam al-Shenawy, Osama al-Kunaysi, Ahmed Mustafa Kamal and Mohamed Abdel Aleem, who are still on the run, were sentenced in absentia to life terms.

Bilal was arrested during investigations into a church bombing in Alexandria in January 2011.

Egypt's security apparatus was disbanded in March 2011 after the February uprising that ousted former president Hosni Mubarak.

At least 23 out of the 1,000 churchgoers who were attending mass at the al-Qiddissin Church in the Sidi Bechr district of Alexandria were killed when a bomb exploded outside the church. More than 90 people were injured.

Bilal was arrested a few days later but his body - bearing marks of torture - was returned to his family within 24 hours.

His family complained they were subsequently harassed and intimidated by security forces. Amnesty International said at the time: "Both the death of Sayyed Bilal and the reported threats against his family are very disturbing developments and point to a continuing pattern of unlawful behaviour by the SSI, which has long been accused of using torture."

The case of another man, Khaled Said, who also died under torture, provoked widespread anger and helped fuel the uprising against the Mubarak regime.

Said, a young activist, died after he was beaten to death by two plainclothes police officers near an internet café in Alexandria. He was attacked after posting online videos that exposed police corruption.

He was beaten up in the street in full view of witnesses but police refused to take responsibility for his death. They said that he had died of asphyxia.

The sentencing of the police came as tensions mount in Egypt, following the dissolution of parliament and delays in announcing the results of the presidential elections, amid fears that the ruling military will refuse to hand over power by the 30 June deadline.