Interior minister summoned over Port Said deaths

A judge decided Sunday to summon Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim on 17 March to hear testimony on violence that has taken place in Port Said since January between protesters and police that has claimed the lives of 42 people.

Judge Abdel Aziz Shaheen, an investigating judge, also decided to summon the deputy security chief for service affairs on 18 March, and the Port Said east and west prison chiefs on 19 March.

A team of prosecution leaders had previously been formed to hear testimonies of those injured in the violence and to inquire about information related to the injured and martyrs, as well as their medical reports.

Shaheen also decided to check records on the arming of police and number of troops in Port Said during the incidents, as well as their places of deployment and commanders’ names for each location they were deployed.

A delegation of experts from the Egyptian Radio and Television Union was formed to review images and video footage recorded by citizens in Port Said documenting the violence, and a criminal laboratory was assigned to check the types of ammunition used and their casings..

Violence erupted at a Port Said police station after the city’s criminal court sentenced 21 defendants to death on charges of killing 72 football fans in February last year. Fans from Port Said’s Masry team had stormed the pitch after a game with Cairo-based Ahly, and attacked fans from the rival team.

City residents have since staged an ongoing civil disobedience campaign against President Mohamed Morsy’s rule over the deaths of those killed in post-verdict violence.

A widely circulated YouTube video appeared to show a disabled man being shot by live ammunition while he was in the street after the verdict. Some families of people who died say their children were killed while they were in the middle of the street, far from the prison where most of the deaths occurred.

In the Egyptian legal system, an investigating judge may conduct the investigations instead of prosecutors. Experts say an investigating judge would guarantee the investigations are conducted fairly and professionally.

This is the second time that an acting interior minister has been summoned for a legal investigation. The first time was during former President Hosni Mubarak’s criminal trial.

Edited translation from MENA

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