Lawyer: 18 Ultras White Knights football fans ‘illegally detained’ at police station

Eighteen Zamalek Club football fans have been “illegally detained” at the Masr al-Qadeema Police Station, according to Mohamed Hafez, a lawyer at the Association for the Freedom of Thought and Expression.

Hafez attempted to file a report detailing their forced disappearance on Saturday after the police station denied having the 18 Ultras White Knights in custody. However, the Masr al-Qadeema prosecutor’s office refused to process the report.

The lawyer confirmed that they were arrested on Thursday, and was able to locate their whereabouts through informal channels on Friday. The police station has not filed a report for the detainees and has not yet referred them to prosecution, Hafez added.

The incident coincides with the third anniversary of the Air Defense Stadium clashes in which over over 20 football fans were killed when police violently dispersed hundreds of people in order to prevent them from attending a football match at the New Cairo venue.

The Ultras White Knights Facebook responded to the arrest of their members in a Saturday statement. “Our men: We do not know anything about them since last night, except that they are being detained at Masr al-Qadeema Police Station, with no access to food, water, visitations or any of their rights. They have not been charged with a single crime. They are there for no reason other than that the Interior Ministry sees no threats to the country other than football fans at the time of their painful anniversary.”

Police apprehended 20 members of the Ultras White Knights on January 6 during a visit to the family of one of their friends killed at the Air Defense Stadium. The Oseem Police Station released them on the same day without filing a report, according to Hafez.

A court handed prison sentences to 14 Ultras White Knights implicated in the Air Defense Stadium violence in September 2017, while two others were acquitted after a prosecutor charged them with joining the Muslim Brotherhood, thuggery, vandalism, resisting arrest and possession of explosives.

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