CAIRO: Gammaliya and Manshiyet Nasser Misdemeanor Appeals Court acquitted Tuesday former deputy Cairo governor Mahmoud Yassin of charges of involuntary manslaughter and injury of the Duweiqa residents.
Head of housing and property management department in Manshiyet Nasser neighborhood Mohamed Hussein Gomaa was also acquitted of the same charges.
Verdicts against six other officials were commuted to one year in prison.
“The verdict was quite surprising to us [though] it is usual to sacrifice some employees and use them as scapegoats to save high-profile officials,” Director of Hisham Mubarak Law Center Ahmed Ragheb told Daily News Egypt.
“The ruling will have a negative impact on the victims and their families and on the corruption cases in general,” he added.
Earlier in May, Yassin had been sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to pay a LE 5,000 bail to suspend the verdict pending the appeal.
Gomaa and six other officials from the district authority as well as the housing and property management departments had been handed down three-year sentences and a LE 3,000 bail each to suspend the sentences for the same charges.
In September 2008, huge boulders and rocks crashed down Muqattam Hill in Duweiqa onto Ezbet Bekhit in Manshiyet Nasser neighborhood in east Cairo, home to around a million of the city’s poorest residents. A total of 119 people were killed and 55 others injured in the accident.
Investigations revealed that the officials failed to respond to technical assessments conducted before the accident calling for the evacuation of all residents in the upper part of Duweiqa as well as building a fence around the area to protect it from sewage water.