The North Cairo Criminal Court adjourned the Air Defence Stadium trial to the 18 May session.
The case involves 16 defendants who stand accused of rioting in the events which saw the deaths of 22 football fans of Zamalek SC.
The Saturday session was first in the trial after the General Prosecution referred 16 defendants from ‘Ultras fans and Muslim Brotherhood members’ to trial. The court adjourned the case to review case exhibits and answer the defence’s demands.
The incident took place before the match as fans were attempting to enter the Air Defence Stadium, before the Zamalek SC and ENPPI premier league football match. The deaths occurred as security forces violently dispersed crowding fans at the entrance to the stadium.
In March, Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat claimed that Muslim Brotherhood members provided the Zamalek hardcore fan group Ultras White Nights (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”. The prosecution had also previously ordered the arrest of a number of UWK leaders, accusing them of inciting the stadium’s storming.
Although the direct cause of deaths were attributed to the security’s violent dispersal of the crowding fans, no security officials were held accountable or prosecuted, a UWK member told Daily News Egypt.
“Instead they want to label the assaulted as perpetrators …the [Zamalek club] administration is an accomplice as well,” he added.
At the time of the incident, the UWK described what happened as “a deliberate massacre, premeditated murder…a planned conspiracy”, accusing security forces and the club’s president Mortada Mansour of being behind the violence.
They accused Mansour of buying out all the tickets before the match, to allow security forces to deal with ticketless fans.
Following the arrest of some UWK leaders and members in March, the group listed in the statement names of “perpetrators” who “participated in the killings”. These included Zamalek’s head Mortada Mansour, former Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim and his assistants, the club’s board members, head of the Egyptian Football League, prominent football personnel Ahmed Shouber, and the current Minister of Sports.
Human rights lawyer Tarek Al-Awady, who has represented Ultras fans in previous cases, previously Daily News Egypt that he filed a lawsuit to the prosecution. In this, he accused the interior minister, Zamalek president and board members, and chief of the Cairo Security Directorate of responsibility for the supporters’ killings.
He added that Mansour is being summoned for investigation along with the Egyptian Football Association President Gamal Allam, a claim that has yet to be confirmed.
Scores of arrests occurred amongst Zamalek fans and UWK members following the match, although claims of forced confessions from detainees and involving detainees from outside the case to confess against UWK members were sounded by lawyers.
Al-Awady said on 11 February that three detainees pending investigations were brought to prosecution by the Ministry of Interior. Lawyers do not know who the accused are, and were not with the Zamalek fans when arrested. The three confessed against the UWKs and admitted to receiving sums of money to cause violence, he said.
Rights lawyer Mohamed Eissa also told Daily News Egypt on 15 February that all detainees in the case had been tortured whilst in custody in Abu Nomros police station. He added that lawyers have submitted five complaints to the Prosecutor General regarding the abuse inside Abu Nomros.
The enmity between the Ultras group and the authorities close to club president Mansour were evident in the case, as he was first to accuse the UWK of involvement in the incident.
Mortada has accused the group of trying to assassinate him, and 12 fans were referred by prosecution to criminal court with this charge.