A new leaked phone conversation allegedly between two generals discussing the Abu Zaabal police van case, was aired Saturday night on the pro-Muslim Brotherhood satellite network “Al-Sharq”.
The two allegedly recorded are General Abbas Kamel, the director of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s office, and General Mamdouh Shahin, advisor for constitutional and legal affairs to the Minister of Defence.
The case regards an incident that took place in August 2013, when 37 detained protesters were killed when a teargas canister was shot into a vehicle transporting them from the Heliopolis Police Station to Abu Zaabal Prison.
In the case, four police officers were charged with negligence and sentenced to 10 years. However their sentences was overturned by an appeals court last June.
The four officers are head of the Heliopolis police station Amr Farouk, Ibrahim Mohamed El-Morsi, Islam Abdel Fattah Helmi, and Mohamed Yahia Abdel-Aziz.
The military figures also discussed ways to convince the judge in the case to accept listening to testimonies of the accused officers’ colleagues. The officials also mentioned that “the son of Abdel Fattah Helmi is suffering”, referring to one of the defendants.
General Abdel Fattah Helmi is the assistant to the head of Egypt’s army department of veterans.
The preliminary prosecution reports charged the officers with manslaughter after their inability to prove their criminal intent in murder, a prerequisite in first-degree murder.
The prisoners were reportedly killed at midday after being arrested, following the dispersal of the pro-Mohamed Morsi sit-in at Rabaa Al-Adaweya. According to reports, the 37 prisoners complained of inadequate ventilation, which prompted the police officers to fire a teargas canister inside the vehicle, killing them.
However, the prosecution presented an appeal to the Court of Cassation, which is set to issue a final verdict on 22 January 2015.
Following the incident, Human Rights Monitor (HRM) submitted a complaint to the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killing concerning the deceased detainees. The group held the Ministry of Interior fully responsible for the deaths.
On 6 December, a series of leaked phone conversations, allegedly between members of Egypt’s armed forces, were aired on the same channel.
The conversations hinted that former president Mohammed Morsi was held illegally in a military navy base for several months after his ousting.