The trial of four officers charged with manslaughter resulting from an event at Abou Zaabal Prison that left 37 dead has been postponed. The Khanka Misdemeanor Court, where the officers are being tried, did not give a date for the trial.
The event in question took place on 17 August 2013, shortly after the Rabaa and Nahda dispersals, when alleged pro-Morsi protesters reportedly “attempted to escape” and “rioted” while being transferred to Abu Zaabal Prison. The Ministry of Interior stated that police were forced to fire tear gas into the police vehicle to quell a riot.
Thirty-seven of the 45 protesters detained inside the police truck died from “gas inhalation and stampeding” in the ensuing chaos.
State-run MENA also reported that armed groups attacked the prison while over 600 protesters were being transferred after their arrest.
The court will try the four officers – Amr Farouk , the Deputy Sheriff of Heliopolis; Captain Ibrahim Mohammed Morsi ; Lieutenant Islam Abdel Fattah Hilmi and Lieutenant Mohammed Yahya Abdul Aziz – for manslaughter, “negligence, recklessness, lack of prudence” and failure to maintain the safety and lives of citizens.
State-run Al-Ahram reported that during the first hearing, a victim’s father, Mohamed Ibrahim, told the court: “I saw my son’s charred and disfigured body; how can his death be a mistake? Whoever did this to my son cannot be human and has to be punished.”
The Anti-Coup Alliance, which rejects the legitimacy of former president Mohamed Morsi’s 3 July ouster, released a statement after the incident saying it had “obtained evidence of the assassination of at least 38 anti-coup detainees in a truck transferring them to Abou Zaabal Prison today,” and that the detainees “were reportedly assassinated in their truck with live ammunition and tear gas fired from windows”.
The trial has been postponed four separate times since its first date in October.