CAIRO: The Maadi Misdemeanors Court on Friday sentenced 18-year-old Ali Eweis to 10 years in prison on the charge of involuntary manslaughter in the Maadi ferry accident last month.
His brother and ferry owner Mohamed Eweis, 28, was sentenced to six months in prison and a LE 1,000 bail.
The defendants had rented their small Nile boat to 15 school girls and their supervisors and jumped into the river as it sank on July 16, leaving nine girls dead, two missing and three injured.
The prosecution had accused the defendants of carrying a large group when the boat, whose license had expired last year, has a capacity of only six passengers.
Additionally, they operated the boat, which did not meet safety standards, outside its licensing zone, according to the River Transport Authority.
Ramses El-Naggar, the lawyer representing the victims’ families, hailed the court’s verdict.
"The court’s verdict is very reassuring and it complies completely with the law," El-Naggar told Daily News Egypt.
According to media reports, the defense team was shocked at the verdict. They accused the supervisors of insisting that the whole group of girls board the boat all at once because they were in a hurry, adding that the boat only sank when a group gathered on one side of it.
According to Akhbar Al-Youm newspaper, Adawi Abdel Nabi, defense lawyer, said that he will appeal the court’s verdict.
Daily News Egypt tried to contact Abdel Nabi, but received no response from his office.
El-Naggar told Daily News Egypt that the governor of Helwan should be responsible for compensating the victims’ families because the safety of boats should be monitored and supervised by the government.
"The government’s responsibility is a civil responsibility which should be translated into monetary compensation paid to the victims’ families … we will take the necessary legal procedures against the government to achieve that," he said.
He added, “But the criminal responsibility falls on the defendant [Eweis] who has already been prosecuted."