CAIRO: Calm returned to the streets of Suez after a court accepted an appeal to renew the detention of businessman Ibrahim Farag, his son, and two police officers, accused of killing protesters in the January uprising.
The Suez Criminal Court had released the four defendants on bail, sparking outrage and protests by the martyrs’ families and the Suez Revolution Youth.
However, chief of police in Suez, General Adel Rifaat, announced that the general prosecution appealed the verdict.
Farag, who became known as “Martyrs’ Assassin,” and his son have allegedly killed 18 protestors and injured hundreds on January 28.
He and his son were initially released on LE 10,000 bail, whereas the two officers were released on LE 2,000 bail.
Rifaat assured the people of Suez that both Farag and his son are still in detention in Tora Prison and haven’t been released. In addition, he said that his other son will also be arrested and put in custody soon.
“Things have calmed down here after the chief of police promised that Farag and his son will be detained under the emergency law,” said head of Al-Ghad Party in Suez, Talaat Khalil.
A protest that had congregated in Al-Arbaen Square ended shortly after Rifaat announced that the defendants’ detention has been renewed.
“There is no way he can come back to Suez, this man is responsible for killing 18 people on the Friday of Anger [January 28] if he came back there will be a massacre,” Khalil said.
The timing of the verdict, just a week before the first anniversary of the January 25 Revolution, was also criticized. “This is a time in which people are asking for trial of those who killed the protesters so to have this verdict, which was perceived as an acquittal, enraged people and made them adamant on retribution,” said Sheikh Abdel Khaleq Mohamed Abdel Khaleq, a candidate of the Salafi Al-Nour’s party list in Suez.
“The appeal and the renewal of [Farag’s] detention calmed people down but they are still expecting justice to be served,” he added.
Emad Wesseily, member of the Free Egyptians Party and candidate on the Egyptian Bloc’s party list, agreed that the timing of the verdict was provocative. “Suez is where the first martyr of the revolution fell so to find the killers of the protesters free on the one-year anniversary is unacceptable,” he said.
Last month the Cairo Criminal Court cleared five police officers of criminal charges over the killing of five protesters in Sayeda Zeinab during the uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak in February.