The prosecutor general referred 16 people, including 12 Muslim Brotherhood members and Zamalek hardcore football fans — the Ultras White Knights — to Criminal Court for the deaths of 22 soccer fans during clashes with police forces at the Air Force Stadium last month.
In a statement on state television, the prosecutor general said investigations placed the blame on the Muslim Brotherhood, claiming the group plotted the violence, aiming to destabilize the country.
The prosecutor general said the group used its connections with elements of the White Knights, providing them with money and fireworks to create chaos and instigate violence at the Zamalek vs. ENPPI premier league game.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s plot was allegedly aimed at spreading terror, canceling the game and foiling the economic summit held in Sharm el-Sheikh last weekend, the statement said.
The arrested defendants confessed to planning, funding and participating in the violence, the prosecutor said. Other Ultras White Knights members also confessed to receiving funds from the Muslim Brotherhood to instigate violence.
“Members of the Ultras White Knights and other unknown elements crowded the gates and used violence and fireworks against police forces and chanted against the authorities,” the statement read, “their criminal acts resulted in the injury of police forces who in turn used tear gas to disperse them.”
This, the prosecutor added, created havoc which led to a stampede that resulted in the deaths of the soccer fans.
The Forensics authority had said that the football fans all died from injuries sustained in a stampede, denying allegations that any of the deceased had been shot with Birdshot or live ammunition, and also refuting reports that some of the men were suffocated by tear gas fired by the police.
The defendants are charged with thuggery aimed at murder, vandalism, resisting authorities and possessing fireworks.
Member of the defense team Tarek al-Awadi said that if the General Prosecution is entitled to refer whomever it wants to court, then it is its duty to investigate the complaints filed from defense lawyers and the accusations against specific people.
“Especially after we presented evidence to support these accusations,” he said, “if it doesn’t do that, then it is no longer as impartial as it should be.”
Lawyer Malek Adly said the General Prosecution is doing whatever it can to distance the police from the case. “In a case where the Interior Ministry’s involvement is so flagrant, it accuses a group of soccer fans, including children, with no political affiliations, with thuggery which led to the killing of over 20 people who were proven to have died of suffocation,” he said.
Adly said the General Prosecution is manipulating the case and that four complaints were filed against the torture of the detainees, but that it refused to look into them.
He added that the Prosecution interrogated defendants who were arrested and detained unlawfully, and who showed signs of torture.
Families of the victims had filed complaints accusing police forces, the Egyptian Football Association and head of the Zamalek club Mortada Mansour of the death of their family members, but the general prosecutor is yet to investigate these complaints.
“The General Prosecution is unprofessional,” Adly said, “their attempts to distance the case from the police makes them throw accusations at a group of citizens for joining groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood or Ansar Beit al-Maqdes in cases where police are accused of torture or murder.”