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Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Zamalek football fans given prison sentences over 2015 stadium clashes in Cairo

Eight people were given sentences between 7-10 years for charges relating to deadly clashes at a Cairo football stadium in 2015

El-Sayed Gamal El-Din , Sunday 24 Sep 2017
stadium clashes
A file photo showing the gate of the stadium before the clashes on 1 February 2015 (Photo:Reuters)
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A Cairo criminal court on Sunday sentenced three people to ten years in prison and five others to seven years for a range of crimes linked to the 2015 Air Defense Stadium clashes in Cairo, Al-Ahram Arabic website reported on Sunday.

One defendant was also sentenced to five years and two others to three years in prison. Two other defendants were also sentenced in absentia to 25 years in prison, and two more were acquitted of all charges.

Among those sentenced was Siyad Faheem, a leading figure of the hardcore Zamalek fangroup Ultras White Knights (UWK).

The prosecution charged the defendants with attempted murder, possession of explosives without permission, inciting violence, destroying public property, and blocking traffic intentionally. The explosives-related charge refers to the defendants' alleged use of fireworks at the stadium.

In February 2015, 22 Zamalek sports club fans were killed and at least 20 others injured as clashes erupted between security forces and members of the UWK fan group in front of Cairo's Air Defense stadium. Clashes outside the gates resulted in a deadly stampede a few hours before Zamalek played ENPPI in the Egyptian Premier League.

The court's decision is a first degree sentence that can be appealed.

According to the defendants' lawyer, Halim Hanish, posting on his official Facebook account, the court rulings will be appealed in the upcoming days.

The UKW issued a statement shortly after the verdict demanding the acquittal of all defendants and "justice for the victims". The group maintains that the police, as well as the Zamalek chairman and parliamentarian Mortada Mansour, were responsible for the deaths of the fans.

In a statement issued sortly after the incident in February 2015, the prosecutor-general stated that both the Muslim Brotherhood and the UWK instigated the disaster in order to "blight the international economic conference in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh the following month."

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