- Middle East/North Africa
As the second anniversary of the 25 January revolution approaches, headlines about protest martyrs and the Port Said massacre take front and center in most newspapers this morning.
Al-Shorouk leads with "An arms-smuggling mafia is behind Port Said Massacre." Ahead of the anticipated trial verdict Saturday, prosecutor Mohamed Rashwan reportedly claims that new evidence proves the sad events of Port Said were planned by a fireworks- and arms-smuggling mafia. The weapons used during the attack were hidden in a location close to the stadium, in collusion with police officers who have been charged in the case, he alleges.
Rashwan also asserts that the dissolved National Democratic Party had nothing to do with the killing of 72 people following the Port Said football match last year. The attorney stated that the police officer in charge of securing the eastern side of the stadium has also been added to the list of officers facing charges because investigations alleged he left his post at half-time.
State-run Al-Akhbar leads with a presidential decree stipulating that "the Port Said martyrs are counted among the martyrs and the injured of the revolution." A judicial source said yesterday that a fact-finding committee tasked with looking into the case did not uncover any new evidence in its recent report.
The government-owned newspaper also writes that the families of those killed, as well as the Al-Ahly Board of Directors, thanked President Mohamed Morsy for his declaration. Mohie al-Bagoury, the father of one of the victims killed in Port Said, said the decision, although late, has comforted bereft families and provided definite proof that the killings were premeditated and the victims were not merely the fatalities of some unfortunate event.
However, an Ultras Ahlawy member, declining to give his name, said that the ultras group was confused over the timing of the release of new evidence in Prosecutor General Talaat Abdallah’s report, issued five days before the final verdict and presented after final arguments had already been heard. The source said the group would consult with legal experts to assess the impact of that information.
Party paper Freedom and Justice writes "the court will decide whether to accept or refuse the new evidence," quoting Public Prosecution technical director Hassan Yassin as saying they are waiting for a reply. Zakaria Abdel Aziz, head of the Judges for Egypt movement, said that the court has the right to accept or refuse the Public Prosecution’s new evidence. Member of the government's fact-finding committee Mohsen Bahnassy said that the evidence, which accuses new suspects, could potentially affect the verdict.
Independent newspaper Al-Shorouk leads the final episode in a series about what former officials are doing behind bars. "For each convict, a paid servant," reads the headline. In his final interview with the paper, Mohamed Hamdoun, deputy head of the prison sector, said that former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly is always alone and spends his time walking and reading the Quran.
The same applies to Alaa Mubarak, who rarely talks to anyone except his brother Gamal Mubarak, as both spend most of their time inside the prison mosque. Hamdoun said that many elderly prisoners from the former regime have appointed servants among their younger fellow prisoners; the servant performs various chores in return for a few pounds put in the prison's safety deposits.
Hamdoun added that no strong relationships tie the prisoners together and most of them spend their time alone, especially Zakariya Azmy, Ahmed Ezz and Fathy Sorour, who reportedly visits the dental clinic fairly often.
Al-Ahram: Daily, state-run, largest distribution in Egypt
Al-Akhbar: Daily, state-run, second to Al-Ahram in institutional size
Al-Gomhurriya: Daily, state-run
Rose al-Youssef: Daily, state-run
Al-Dostour: Daily, privately owned
Al-Shorouk: Daily, privately owned
Al-Watan: Daily, privately owned
Al-Wafd: Daily, published by the liberal Wafd Party
Youm7: Daily, privately owned
Al-Tahrir: Daily, privately owned
Al-Sabah: Daily, privately owned
Freedom and Justice: Daily, published by the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party
Sawt al-Umma: Weekly, privately owned
Al-Arabi: Weekly, published by the Nasserist Party
Al-Nour: Official paper of the Salafi Nour Party