The first trial session of 16 defendants accused of rioting and violence leading to the death of 20 football fans is to be held on 18 April.
The accused allegedly belong to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group and the Zamalek Ultras White Knights (UWK) fan base.
The deaths took place before the match as fans were attempting to enter the Air Defence Stadium, before the 8 February Zamalek SC and ENPPI football match.
Last Wednesday, Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat claimed that Muslim Brotherhood members provided the UWK with money and explosive materials to commit violence and riots, which lead to the killings.
The prosecution also accused the defendants of committing crimes to “create a state of anarchy to sabotage the Economic Summit”. Previously, the prosecution also ordered the arrest of a number of UWK leaders, accusing them of inciting the stadium’s storming.
On Thursday, the UWK reasserted that “what happened on 8 February was a deliberate massacre, a crime, and a violation against humanity”. The group referred to the tunnel, which was meant to organise the entry of the fans, as “the tunnel of death”.
Before the match, a narrow metal tunnel was erected inside the gates to reduce the numbers of fans entering at once. Security forces used tear gas and birdshots to disperse the crowding fans in the tunnel, according to videos, pictures and testimonies circulated on social media.
“Now we see the state officials arresting leaders and members of the group, beating and torturing them to confess killing their brothers,” the group said. “They became the murderer and the victim”.
The group listed in the statement names of so-called perpetrators who “participated in the killings”, including the head of the club Mortada Mansour, former interior minister Mohamed Ibrahim and his assistants, the board members of the club, head of the Egyptian Football League, prominent football personnel Ahmed Shouber, and the current minister of sports.
Egyptian Ultras groups have become known for their anti-police and anti-government slogans, and are often involved in clashes with security forces. They played a prominent role in the 25 January Revolution and other confrontations with the police thereafter.
The Egyptian football league is expected to continue on 30 March, amid outrage inside Ultras circles.
In a recent development, Said Moshagheb, a leading figure in Zamalek SC’s hardcore fan base, was arrested last week and referred to the criminal court on charges of attempting to assault and murder the club’s head, Mortada Mansour.