- Middle East/North Africa
The request to enter new evidence and charge additional defendants in the Port Said football violence case after closing arguments is not politically motivated, a Public Prosecution deputy has said.
The Port Said Criminal Court has heard the trial of 75 defendants accused in the deaths of 72 people following an Ahly-Masry football match last year and was expected to issue a verdict Saturday.
The trial has been held at the Police Academy in Cairo due to security concerns.
Tamer Seoudi, first attorney general in the prosecutor general’s technical office, said in a statement Wednesday that the prosecution request asking the court’s permission to take the stand again is not intended to preempt protests planned for 25 and 26 January.
The Ultras Ahlawy football fan club has staged sit-ins around Cairo calling for a swift verdict and is mobilizing its members to attend the ruling Saturday.
Seoudi added that the prosecution has nothing to do with political developments.
Seoudi said Prosecutor General Talaat Abdallah has had less than two weeks to review a report from the fact-finding committee tasked with investigating the football violence.
The report implicated new suspects, including former officials, businessmen and some security authorities, prompting the prosecution to ask to reopen arguments in the trial, Seoudi said in a statement.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm