CAIRO: The prosecution will investigate accusations that police officials tortured defendants to confess their involvement in the death of more than 20 football fans on Feb. 8, Youm7 reported Sunday.
Four young men, who were arrested from their homes a day after the incidents, were “subjected to beatings by batons and electric shocks from officers at El-Nomros police station,” their lawyer Mokhtar Mounir told The Cairo Post Sunday.
Riots took place outside the Air Force Stadium ahead of a football match between Zamalek and Enby football teams, when security forces said groups of football fans were denied entry to the stadium for not having proper tickets.
The four did not have tickets as well, but Mounir said “they were like many others who heard news of free tickets being distributed.”
To disperse the crowd outside the stadium, security forces fired tear gas causing a crushing stampede in which some were trampled to death. A number of arrests took place on the same day after 22 were reportedly killed; some of them are members of the Zamalek football fan group the Ultras White Knights (UWK.)
The four young men, Mostafa Mahmoud, Ramadan Saad, Gamal Abdel Nasser and Omar Salah, were arrested early Feb.9. “They were at the stadium but when the riots began, they left,” added Mounir.
He further said that “there is no evidences to their involvement in the riots,” and that some of their friends who were at the stadium and were arrested, spoke to the police about them.
Mounir went on saying that since their arrest, they were subjected to abuses by the police officers at the police station, and pushed to confess “that they received money from the Muslim Brotherhood to incite violence on that day.”
“But they denied this when they were asked in the investigations,” added Mounir.
Interrogations of the four began Feb.12, when they were added to the case along the others whose detention was renewed by 15 days. So far, there are seven still held by the prosecution pending investigations in the case. Last week, the prosecution released 18 who had been arrested in the wake of the case.
Mounir submitted a complaint to Attorney General Hisham Barakat detailing the abuses and demanding the prosecution to consider listening to the defense witnesses.
“There is no evidence of their involvement in the riots. They are just normal football fans and do not belong to any group,” said Mounir.
His report was filed against the Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim, head of Abu el-Nomros police station and chief of detectives of the police station.
The stadium incidents, which social media users likened to the Port Said Massacre, in which 72 people were killed during halftime of a football match in February 2012, triggered a backlash against security forces. Protests also took to the streets condemning the killings, with some calling for the resignation of the Interior Minister.
The Forensic Medicine Authority denied any deaths due to live fire, birdshots or teargas. It also said it received 19 dead bodies in the incidents.
A number of the UWK group gathered Thursday outside Zeinhom Morgue to search for the bodies of their missing friends.
After the accident, the Zamalek Sporting Club and the Egyptian Football Federation (EFF) announced they would pay compensation to the family of each victim.