Ultras youth face terrorism charges
Ultras White Nights - YOUM7/Khaled Kamel

CAIRO: A new group of youth have been singled out by authorities; following an escalation of protests and clashes in Cairo streets during the past week Giza Prosecution ordered Sunday the detention of six persons who belong to the Ultras White Nights, a Zamalek football team fans, Al-Ahram reported.

Al-Ahram also stated that some of the members belong to another political youth group who call themselves “The Liberated,” after they participated in demonstrations Saturday which were “non-peaceful,” according to the charges.

The president of the Zamalek sports club Mortada Mansour, who briefly threw his hat into the presidential race, and is well-known as a firebrand, has spoken publicly about the fan group recently.

On Aug. 17, Mansour survived a murder attempt, after gunmen in a car fired at him in front of the Zamalek club, injuring three people, his son Ahmed told Al-Wafd. Mansour immediately accused the White Nights, naming several and referring to them as members of the Muslim Brotherhood, and claiming they had “political motives,” Al-Wafd added.

A few days later, police authorities arrested some of those named; including three as the main suspects who supposedly “led the operation,” renewing their detention pending investigations on Aug. 24. At least 10 people in total are in custody, while a dozen others are wanted by authorities.

A series of protests by the White Nights followed, mainly on Aug. 28, in the Shubra area, resulting in the arrest of another group. The situation has been escalating since then, with each new group of protesters demanding the release of their colleagues.

The Ultras are facing serious charges and a possible ban if the court supports Mansour’s lawsuit against them; the court is scheduled to look into the case this September.

Meanwhile, head of the team’s defense and human rights lawyer Tarek al-Awadi reported that as they went to follow up on the case at the Prosecutor General’s office, Mansour’s lawyers tried to assault them. Awadi defended the young detainees, most of whom are teenagers or in their early twenties.

“Ultras are neither thugs nor terrorists, they are passionate football fans, an energy of hope and patriotism, let’s not turn them into an angry force,” Awadi posted Sunday on his Facebook page, in a note addressing the president.

Additional reporting by Amer Mostafa and Ahmed Tawfik.

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