Forensics: Air Force Stadium victims all died from stampede-related injuries

All of the football fans killed on Sunday in front of the Air Defense Stadium died from injuries sustained in a stampede, Forensic Department spokesperson Hesham Abdel Hamid told the state-owned Middle East News Agency (MENA).

Government officials put the death toll at 19, while the Ultras White Knights — the hardcore fans of the Zamalek team — say 22 of their members were killed in the violence.

The bodies all showed severe bruising, as well as signs of pressure to the chest and other body parts that led to fatal respiratory failure, Hamid said — all signs of the “extreme stampede.” He denied allegations that any of the deceased had been shot with birdshot or live ammunition, and also refuted reports that some of the men were suffocated by tear gas fired by the police.

Reports that three burial permits listed tear gas suffocation as the cause of death were also untrue, Hamid added. He claimed that the victims’ families “pressured” the doctor who issued the permits into writing tear gas as the cause of death. The doctor subsequently filed an official complaint, according to Hamid.

The families of the victims tell a different story. They assert that tear gas suffocated some of their sons to death, while others died from fatal birdshot wounds.

The father of Ahmed Medhat, who died in the incident, alleged in televised statements that his son was shot twice in the chest and suffered 12 bruises to his head, which was seriously disfigured.

“My son was not killed by a stampede,” the grieving father said.

“They deformed the corpse to hide the crime they did. They opened the corpse from the beginning of his throat to the stomach,” he claimed.

Tarek Elawady, a lawyer representing the victims’ families, told Mada Masr that even if stampede-related injuries were the cause of death, the Interior Ministry was not cleared of responsibility for the killings.

“Deliberate murder does not only mean that the murderer held a gun to kill the victim. Declining to protect the victims is deliberate murder, and setting the scene to ensure extreme hazard is also deliberate murder,” he explained.

Elawady said that the legal team will officially request an evaluation of the forensic report by an independent consultant to ensure its accuracy.

Dozens of fans were arrested on Sunday on charges of rioting, attacking police personnel, attempting to storm the stadium and damaging public property, Elawady added.

The lawyer said that he was surprised to find three adolescents implicated in the case, who allegedly confessed that they were paid LE2,000 each to incite rioting and push for the stampede.

“Later on, we discovered from their families that they were tortured and coerced into giving these false confessions,” Elawady claimed, “to clear the Interior Ministry of accusations of deliberately intending to kill the soccer fans.” 

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