An Egyptian court has acquitted 17 people over taking part in an unsanctioned demonstration earlier this year that saw a young mother shot to death in downtown Cairo.

At least one of those affected by the decision Saturday is a witness to the killing of 32-year-old Shaimaa el-Sabbagh, an unarmed protester taking part in a peaceful demonstration. A police lieutenant faces a manslaughter charge over her killing at the January demonstration on the eve of the anniversary of Egypt's 2011 revolt against autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Egyptian police consistently have maintained they didn't fire birdshot at the protesters despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

El-Sabbagh's slaying shocked many in Egypt, where a highly criticized law now requires government approval before any protest in the country.