Court sentences 15 Ultras White Knights members to prison
An Egyptian Court sentenced 15 members of the Ultras White Knights (UWK) group to a year in prison on Monday, during their retrial over violence charges against Zamalek chairman Mortada Mansour.
The case dates back to August 2014, when Mansour accused a number of the group members of storming the club’s headquarters and attempting to assassinate him. The incident took place when tens of Zamalek fans gathered in front of the club, demonstrating against Mansour’s decision to ban fans from attending the team’s training sessions.
The defendants were accused of vandalism, inciting riot, possession of unlicensed firearms, as well as attempted murder. According to the prosecution, the defendants attacked Mansour and fired rubber bullets towards him; however, they injured a club employee and a journalist instead.
Eleven of the defendants were charged of attempting to assassinate Mansour and possessing weapons, while other four were accused of storming the club, injuring a club employee and destructing public and private properties.
Following the court’s decision, the group issued a statement on their Facebook page expressing their hope for the group members to be acquitted before the Court of Cassation.
The defendants were previously sentenced to five years in absentia last January. However, they turned themselves in and were granted a retrial.
Later on Monday, the Zamalek die-hard supporters issued an angry statement, in which they said they would refrain from discussing court decisions that lack fairness.
“We won’t allow for any member of the group or the football fans in general to remain behind bars…Until when will the football fans be repressed, with hundreds of fans being detained during the past years, while the real criminals are free,” the statement read.
The group also criticised Mansour’s orders for the women basketball team to forfeit their match on Monday, due to the presence of fans attending the game. The UWK statement mentioned that Mansour threatened to end the players’ careers if they didn’t abide by his decision.
Football fans in Egypt have been banned from attending matches since the Port Said Stadium massacre in February 2012, which saw 72 Al Ahly fans killed. The ban was temporary lifted in February 2015, but was reapplied again following the Air Defense Stadium disaster, which witnessed the death of 20 Zamalek fans.
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