CAIRO: Ten days after a court ordered their release, seven Sudanese youths still remain in custody illegally and are being threatened with deportation to Sudan.
The seven are part of a group of eight, popularly known as the AUC 8, facing charges related to the death of Malea Fealjour Bekam and the injury of Nasser Bil Leel.
Bekam was fatally stabbed and Bil Leel seriously injured when a street fight between Sudanese youths erupted outside the American University in Cairo (AUC) on June 15, 2007 as the university celebrated World Refugee Day.
The defendants had been detained in prison for nine months when the New Cairo Criminal Court ordered their release on LE 1,000 bail each on March 5.
Serious concerns have been voiced about both the investigation into the murder, and the absence of a police presence from the scene of the crime on the day it took place, despite the fact that the organizers of the World Refugee Day had specifically requested an increased police presence because of threats of violence between Sudanese gangs.
The trial is scheduled to resume on May 4 amid optimism on the part of defence lawyers that the court would find the seven innocent.
The eighth defendant Alam Eddin Barshim, who has been charged with murder, was not released on bail.
Friends and relatives of the seven who attended the court hearing collected the funds and were informed by court officials that the seven would be released within two days.
Lawyer Ali El-Habet – who is representing the second and eighth defendants – says that Egyptian state security investigations sent him a letter informing him that the seven would be deported to Sudan.
“I have no idea why – no explanation was given, El-Habet told Daily News Egypt. “The seven are currently being held illegally in Abdeen police station, in defiance of a court order for their release, he continued.
El-Habet says he plans to present a petition for their release to the Prosecutor General this week.