31 January 2017

Egypt: Five 'Ultras Ahlawy' Members Detained Ahead of 5th Anniversary of Port Said Violence

Cairo — The West Cairo Prosecution ordered the detention of five members of the Ultras Ahlawy fan group late Monday on charges of establishing and leading an illegal group just a day before the fifth anniversary of what is publicly known as the "Port Said massacre".

Feb. 1 marks the fifth anniversary of the deadly violence that broke out after a tense game between Cairo's Al Ahly and Port Said's local al-Masry football teams. The Al Ahly fans who had traveled from across Egypt to watch the game up close, left the city at least 70 fans short.

Member of Ultras Ahlawy, ardent supporters of Al Ahly, have been keen on holding memorials of the violent incident over the past few years, demanding justice and calling on the authorities to investigate the incident and reveal the perpetrators.

Seventy-three defendants faced trial for the incident including nine security leaders and three Masry club officials, and in June 2015 a court ruled on the case issuing sentences ranging from death to a year in prison. However, the sentences are currently under appeal.

The group has long maintained its stance that the perpetrators of the crime have yet to be identified or punished.

The five members were ordered detained by the prosecution for 15 days pending investigation into charges of "disturbing the peace, possession of fireworks and calling for protest on Feb. 1 without a license from the designated authorities," asides from establishing an "illegal" group.

In a statement on its Facebook page late Monday, Ultras Ahlawy said, "No entity has the right to take a decision or threaten to ban or change this date for it is not a match held without an audience or a protest that requires a license or a change of location... it is a fixed date, known to everyone, and held at the place for which the 72 fans have died."

Hundreds staged a memorial last year in one of Al Ahly sporting club's stadiums. They want to commemorate the anniversary at the same place this year where the memorial stands.

"Therefore, we will meet on Wednesday at 3:00 pm inside the stadium to hold the memorial for our martyrs," the group concluded.


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