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Guilty verdicts of 4 policemen overturned in Abu Zabaal prison van case

Appeal court overturned the convictions for killing 37 prisoners by negligence

Ahram Online, Saturday 7 Jun 2014
police man
Officers issue of Abu Zaabal (Photo:Ahram)
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An Egyptian appeal court overturned a ten year prison sentence handed down to one policeman and the one year suspended sentence given to three others on Saturday, on charges of killing 37 people inside a police van in an Guilincident last summer.

On 18 August last year, the interior ministry said that 37 supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi arrested in protests had died of asphyxiation due to teargas and overcrowding while they were being transferred to Abu Zabaal prison in Cairo in a police van.

Saturday’s decision means that investigations into the charges will continue, with a retrial possible.

The appeal case was heard at the police academy in New Cairo under tight security. Journalists were barred from attending the court session.

Policemen Amr Farouq, Ibrahim El-Morsi, Islam Abdel-Fattah and Mohamed Abdel-Aziz were all originally convicted of killing due to negligence. 

Security forces initially claimed the prisoners had died during an escape attempt. However, prosecution investigators said there had been no escape attempt.

According to eyewitness reports, police fired teargas in the transportation vehicle leading to the suffocation of the detainees.

Egyptian police have long been accused of using excessive force and torturing detainees. The January 2011 uprising, which led to the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, had its origins as a protest against police brutality. 

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