Court overturns sentences given to officers over Abu Zaabal prisoner deaths

Khanka Misdemeanor Court of Appeals overturned on Saturday sentences handed in March to policemen over involvement in death of 37 inmates and injury of others in prison truck while being transferred from the police station to Abu Zaabal prison.
The 37 detainees were affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood and pro-Mohamed Morsy, the former president, and died after the tear gas was thrown into their closed police van while they were being transported from a police station to a prison near Cairo.
Policeman Omar Farouq, who oversaw the prison transfer, was originally given a 10-year sentence, while police sergeants Ibrahim Negm and Islam Helmy and First Lieutenant Mohamed Yehia Abdel Salam, were given one year suspended sentence.
The four were sentenced for manslaughter after the prosecution's investigation revealed they acted recklessly.
The appeals court ordered the case to be transferred to the general prosecution for further investigation.
Human rights lawyer Amr Imam told AFP the decision "means that the case is back to square one."
Since Morsy was ousted by the army in July, the military-installed authorities have launched a crackdown on his supporters that has left more than 1,400 killed in street clashes and jailed at least 15,000.
Dozens of officers who earlier expressed solidarity with their colleagues chanted ‘long live justice’ as the court issued its verdict.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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