Sisi says culprits will be punished in killings of activist, football fans

Ahram Online , Sunday 22 Feb 2015

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi tackled for the first time on Sunday the incident of the killing of at least 20 people during a football match, the second deadliest sports event in decades, vowing that the culprits will face justice. 

"Whoever (official) is responsible will be held accountable," El-Sisi said on the Zamalek match stadium events.

The Zamalek supporters died of stampede after being tear-gassed by police forces, who attempted to disperse large crowds of fans who were making their way into a Cairo stadium to attend a football game in the Egyptian Premier league on 8 February.

He also reflected on an earlier incident when activist Shaimaa El-Sabbagh was killed in a peaceful protest in January when the police moved in to disperse a peaceful demonstration in downtown Cairo. 

"The two issues are in front of the general prosecution," Sisi said. "We do not want these issues, despite their importance, to make us sceptical of each other…we have no benefit in neglecting or stepping over people's rights."

He said measures will be taken once investigations are done.

'Critical conditions' 

In a televised speech, in which he spoke in segments, El-Sisi also referred to the seven months since he took office, which was taken "in extremely critical conditions."

Listing some of the developments, El-Sisi said that under his leadership, Egypt has gained back its membership in the African Union, which was frozen after the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi.

He also spoke about the enhanced relationship with Ethiopia, following months of tension over Ethiopia's contested Grand Renaissance Dam, and the doubts of Egypt concerning its water share from the Nile.

"We have given countries in the past months time to understand what has been going on in the region and in Egypt ... this has produced positive outcomes."

The president also referred to the military equipment deal with France and the Russian president's visit, a move that was seen by observers as an attempt by Egypt to break decades-long arms dependence on the U.S.

"Our relationship with the U.S. is a strategic, continuing relation," Sisi said. "Egypt is running consensual relations with all the world's countries."

Speaking about terrorism, El-Sisi asserted confidence in the police and the army's efforts "to gain full control over Sinai."

"Yes there is terrorism, but the state is still and there is progress."

Hundreds of army and police personnel have been killed by Sinai-based insurgents since the toppling of Morsi in July 2013. 

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