South Cairo criminal court decided on Monday to postpone the trial of 51 defendants accused in the Nile city clashes case until 23 September due to the absence of one of the judges.
“Fifty one defendants have been held for over 13 months while they could have been released,” said Mohamed Adel, defense attorney for four of the defendants. “Many of them have nothing to do with the case and were arrested randomly while returning from their work to their homes in the neighbourhood.”
According to Adel, four defendants are being tried for murder while other charges include rioting and vandalism. However, the attorney said “no flammable objects were found within the cars, which demonstrates that they were set on fire by bullets from the police, while the murder charges are false, as no victims fell from [among the] security forces.”
Adel called the treatment of the defendants as “unjust” as the trial has been postponed a number of times, citing such reasons as Ramadan break and the judge being ill.
On 2August 2012, police officer Yasser Ali shot dead Amr El-Bunni, a resident of the Ramlet Boulaq slum area in Cairo’s Fairmont Hotel next to Nile City towers. According to Adel, Ali was not involved in the case in any way.
The death of Bunni resulted in clashes between families from Ramlet Boulaq and security forces from Nile towers, leading to the arrests of 51 individuals from the neighborhood. Charges included rioting and vandalism.
Residents of the neighbourhood complained of police raids on their houses, during which some local residents said that security forces had arbitrarily seized their belongings. The prosecution investigated these claims, but charged no police officers.