The Egyptian Observatory for Rights and Freedoms (EORF) is appalled by the referral to trial of only 3 police officers and a police station deputy chief for the killing of 37 detainees inside a police van near Abu Zaabal prison in Qaliubiya province. EORF warns that sacrificing minor officials to protect senior ones takes us back to the times of lopsided justice before the January 25 Revolution.
EORF expressed fears that referring the policemen in evidently frivolous proceedings, in light of available information, clearly resembles the January 25 lawsuits against those involved in killing unarmed protesters, which collapsed in court, ending without any significant outcomes, especially with the Ministry of Interior playing an active role as a hostile opponent.
The prosecution brought against those officials only charges of negligence, criminal levity and gross misconduct in doing their duty – which obliges them to protect citizens. EORF points that this opens a way for the defense to end the case in a farcical, unsatisfactory and indeed insulting way for the dead detainees’ right to fair retribution, since this would lead to mere administrative sanctions by way of a face-saving tactic for the Interior Ministry and the current regime as a whole, showing that they are bringing officials to trial.
EORF is baffled at the absurd assumption that the Ministry of Interior would actively collect evidence that incriminates its men, without any lies to help acquit them, especially in the current abnormal conditions which made certain members of the public prosecution service seek to return to the judiciary due to pressures on them to follow procedures that violate the law and rules of justice.
EORF expressed confidence that the massacre victims' legal team will deal with the case strongly from the first session, exposing any violation from the prosecution or the Interior Ministry. The rights group also warned them against accepting the case as it is now without enough guarantees for credible investigations, while investigators show disrespect and contempt to the law, pointing that this will lead to the repetition of what happened in trials of officials after the January 25 Revolution.
The Egyptian Observatory for Rights and Freedoms
Cairo: October 26, 2013