Egypt's Court of Cassation on Jan. 22 ordered a retrial for four police officers facing accusations of involuntary manslaughter relating to the deaths of 37 prisoners in a van outside the Abu Zaabal prison in 2013. The prisoners, arrested days before during protests in support of former president Mohamed Morsi, were being transported from the Nasser City police station to the Abu Zaabal prison on Aug. 18, 2013, when the officers in question allegedly fired tear gas into an overcrowded police van. The gas caused 37 of the 45 prisoners within the van to die from suffocation. A series of conflicting early reports asserted that the detainees were attempting to escape, or being freed by an armed group. In March one of the officers, Lt. Col. Amr Farouk, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter and extreme negligence. The other three officers, Ibrahim El-Morsi, Islam Abdel-Fattah and Mohamed Abdel-Aziz, were given suspended sentences. In June, those sentences were overturned by a lower appeals court. The coming retrial will be the final trial for the officers, as Egyptian law only permits two appeals.
From Jurist, Jan. 22. Used with permission.