Egypt Independent

Port Said prosecution detains security officers, fans in investigation of violence

The general prosecutor in Port Said on Thursday detained a number of security leaders pending investigations into the violence that erupted Wednesday evening that left at least 70 people dead and hundreds injured.

Judicial sources told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the prosecution has questioned the head of security in Port Said, General Essam Samak, his deputy, the head of investigative authorities and the head of Port Said Stadium security, Mohamed Younes.

The prosecution will investigate recently-resigned Port Said Governor Ahmed Abdullah, members of the administration of Masry Sporting Club, referees, officials with the Egyptian Football Association and the National Sports Council.

The prosecution has decided to detain security leaders for questioning and file charges of negligence, failure to secure the game and causing the deaths of 71 people and the injury of 400 others.

The prosecution summoned head of the National Football Association, Samir Zaher, and head of the National Sports Association, Emad al-Lebnany for questioning concerning the events.

In questioning, Samak denied that security forces had been negligent and claimed that they had been outnumbered. He also said that was it not for security interference, the number of casualties would have been in the thousands.  

Mohamed Younes, Port Said stadium manager, said during interrogations that security forces supervised the entrance of the Ahly supporters and reported that there was some tension in the bleachers.

Port Said prosecution has arrested around 50 people in connection with the violence. The accused say they came to the stadium to watch the game and were surprised that they were arrested on their way out. They denied charged of attacking Ahly supporters, judicial sources said.

The suspects, according the sources, said security forces made arrests randomly in the streets around the stadium without concern for whether the detainees were actually involved in the violence.

A number of the suspects, including minors, said they saw a number of people at the beginning of the game distributing bladed weapons, adding that these people jumped over the fence of the stadium and that a number of the security forces were watching and did not interfere to arrest or stop them.

According to eyewitness accounts, the attackers were standing with the police forces before the start of the match and it appeared that the police knew them directly. Witnesses say that they told police that there were people hiding bladed weapons, and police forces responded that they have taken that into consideration and security is fully aware of it.

Injured supporters of Ahly and eyewitnesses said in the investigations that they saw a number of plainclothes security forces storming the internal gates so that the Masry supporters could reach the Ahly supporters.

Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm.