Alexandria's Criminal Court has postponed a verdict in the murder trial of Egypt's revolutionary icon, Khaled Said.

The delay sparked a protest outside the courthouse among activists, keen to see the watchdogs of the old regime brought to justice.

Said wasn't the main reason for the uprising, but his was an image that shocked the nation and hurt the moral image of the Mubarak regime, said Mosa'ab Elshamy, renowned activist and blogger, in a phone interview from Cairo.

His death helped build tension. His spirit was very much present during 18 days of revolution.

Elshamy was in Tahrir square among images of the late Khaled Said, posted on picket signs, during former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's ouster.

Judge Moussa al-Nahrawy announced today that the court will conduct further investigations into Said's two conflicting autopsies before it delivers a verdict in late September.

A state autopsy reported Said had choked on a small bag of marijuana that the police were after, following a report by a state informant the he possessed narcotics. Another autopsy, issued by the Said family's doctors, reported that Said died after a brutal beating by the police.

Witnesses to the beating say the police demanded a bribe not to take Said to prison on possession of narcotics. When Said refused to pay, they beat him to death.

Some activists like Elshamy are saying the delay is part of the Egyptian interim government's overarching attempt to avoid the trial of other higher-ranking officials in the former Mubarak regime.

Hosni Mubarak's trial for corruption and the systematic torture and murder of protestors in Tahrir Square has been pushed back due to medical reports on the ex-leader's infirmity.

Many of the youth in Cairo, including my friends, went to [the Alexandria courthouse to] keep pressure up and protest in front of the court, Elshamy said.

Elshamy explained that bringing Said's killers to justice will deal an ideological blow to police brutality in Egypt, a chief grievance on the Tahrir activists' agenda.

But not everyone is convinced the delay is a conspiracy against justice.

The delay may lead to the officers being charged properly for what they have done and not a lesser crime, said Mona Seif, another prominent activist in the Tahrir uprising and a founder of No Military Trials for Civilians, a group working to prevent abuses in the New Egypt's legal system under temporary military rule.

Previously charged for torture instead of manslaughter, people like Seif are hopeful that further investigations may lead to a more appropriate sentencing for the officers charged with Said's death.

There is a possibility that the new investigation will tell the court that the reason [for Said's death] was police brutality. In this case, the accusations against the two detectives from the Sidi Gaber police station will be turned to torture leading to death, which could warrant the death penalty, said Abdel Karim, Said's lawyer Ramy Abdel Karim told Egyptian daily Al Masry Al Youm.

Under the current charge, the officers stand to serve a sentence of seven years in prison.

Who's Khaled Said? We are all Khaled Said    

Egyptian protesters carried pictures taken of Said before and after Mubarak's police force beat him unrecognizable this month last year. The before pictures showed a young, well-groomed 29-year-old Alexandrian. The after pictures showed a gaping crater where the police had busted his jaw.

Police brutality, particularly against political dissidents, was a long-running terror of life under the Mubarak regime. But Said's case was different.

He was a young middle class man not involved in politics -- and the fact that the before after [pictures] were released, it provoked fear. We thought, if we stay silent, we could face same problems as Khaled, Elshamy said.

A Facebook group called We are all Khaled Said that commemorated Said's death and addressed the issue of police corruption and brutality was instrumental in organizing the protestors who eventually toppled Mubarak.

Police brutality persists in Egypt under military rule

Over four months since Mubarak's fall, activists say Egypt is still a comparable police state.

Over 7,000 civilians -- mostly political dissidents -- have been arrested, tried in military courts and jailed since Mubarak's ouster, according to Seif's group No Military Trials for Civilians.

Elshamy was among one of those civilians, jailed on May 15 after a late-night protest commemorating the Palestinian Nakba, or the 1948 creation of the State of Israel on Palestinian land, at the Israeli Embassy in Giza, a Cairo suburb.

They claimed people tried to break in. People were shot with live bullets and tear gas, Elshamy remembered, recalling that some 100 protesters were assaulted and arrested.

In trials like those conducted under the current Egyptian military leadership, Egyptians are often denied legal representation and contact with their families.

Elshamy's sentence was eventually reviewed and he was released on a warning to refrain from protesting and creating unrest. But he continues to participate in protests and maintain coverage of events as they develop in post-Mubarak Egypt.

As much as I fear for my safety, I strongly believe if we give up now, we are betraying those who gave their lives to see Mubarak fall, Elshamy said.

I don't think we can be afraid again after what we've done. We have to tell military Egyptians will not be humiliated again.

Elshamy was present at protests in Tahrir earlier this week to demand that Egypt's interim leaders not delay court cases against members of the old regime accused of corruption and repressive measures against the Egyptian people.

We are now working on purification of the military-on its use of secret police, harassing people in the street and getting away with it. There are still a lot of examples going on of harassment, he added, saying that the days of Khaled Said are not over.

Seif reported that since she helped start her group to stop military trials, shortly after Mubarak's fall in February, group membership has grown from 20 core members to 100, not including support from international organizations like the United Nations.

It took a lot of work to convince people that a lot of the people tried in military courts are not criminals, Seif said, explaining that many are activists, It took a lot of time to convince people that military courts are wrong.

Elshamy worries that injustice in the Egyptian legal system will persist as long as the military is in charge and driven to quell the kind of popular dissent that could further destabilize the re-emerging country.

We appreciate what the military has done for the revolution, but it's time for them to leave, Elshamy said.