Top court orders retrial in Abu Zaabal police van case

Thursday 22-01-2015 12:03 PM
Top court orders retrial in Abu Zaabal police van case

Riot police gather behind an armoured vehicle during clashes with members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, at Rabaa Adawiya square, where they are camping, in Cairo August 14, 2013. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh


CAIRO, Jan 22 (Aswat Masriya) – Egypt's Court of Cassation ordered on Thursday a retrial in the Abu Zaabal police van case, brought to court after 37 detainees were killed during transportation in August, 2013.

The court ordered the retrial after accepting the appeal presented by prosecution.

The case involves four police officers who were initially convicted after being charged with negligence leading to the detainees’ deaths, which took place inside a police van outside the Abu Zaabal prison.

In June, 2014 a misdemeanor court of appeals cancelled the sentences handed to the police officers and returned the case to prosecution. Overturning the verdict paved the way for the retrial.

The detainees were arrested following the forcible dispersal of the pro-Mohamed Mursi Rabaa al-Adawiya sit-in on August 14, 2013.

They were killed when policemen allegedly fired a teargas canister inside the van, after they complained of inadequate ventilation and allegedly created a disturbance.

Investigations had revealed that the ventilation system in the police van was broken and that there were 45 prisoners inside the car, while its capacity could accommodate no more than 24 persons.

The prosecutor-general had charged the four police officers with manslaughter, citing the inability to prove their criminal intent in murder, a prerequisite in pressing first-degree-murder charges.

Lawyers representing the victims in court had long pushed for referring the case to the criminal court instead and charging the defendants with first-degree murder.

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