Sentence against police officer charged with Abu Zaabal deaths reduced

Khanka Misdemeanor Court has reduced the prison sentence handed to a police officer for his responsibility in the deaths of 37 detainees in a prisoner transfer vehicle outside Abu Zaabal prison in 2013.

The court reduced the sentence against deputy chief officer of Heliopolis Police Station, Lieutenant Colonel Amr Farouk, from 10 to five years.

The court also ruled in support of existing one-year suspended sentences against three other officers accused in the Abu Zaabal incident.

The prosecution had listened to the testimonies of seven defendants who survived the incident, as well as the testimonies of 40 officers and members of the forensics team. The prosecution also heard from an expert from the Ministry of Justice, who stated that the truck was spacious enough for 24 detainees and definitely not equipped or big enough to carry 45 detainees.

In 2013, Lieutenant Colonel Amr Farouk received a 10-year sentence alongside three other officers, who received one-year suspended sentences for the deaths of 37 prisoners close to Abu Zaabal.

The prisoners suffocated inside the police truck when a tear gas canister was fired inside it. The detainees had already been inside the vehicle for several hours without food or water. The colonels alongside the three other officers were accused of negligence, as well as seriously breaching their duties to maintain the safety of citizens.

According to Ministry of Interior statements at the time, the detainees — supposedly all Muslim Brotherhood inmates — were killed during an attempt to escape from the convoy as it transferred them to Abu Zaabal prison.

In 2014, Khanka Misdemeanor Court annulled the sentence against Farouk and referred the case back to prosecution for further investigations.

Last December, a phone call between Defense Minister for Constitutional and Legal Affairs, Mamdouh Shahin, and Abbas Kamel from the Presidency’s office, was leaked. In the confidential phone call, Shahin promises Kamel that he will step in and speak to the judge presiding over the controversial case.

The leaked call was then broadcast on a Brotherhood-affiliated satellite channel.

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