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Over 20 football fans arrested after calling for prosecution of Zamalek Club president

Security forces arrested more than 20 football fans for allegedly demanding the prosecution of Zamalek Club President Mortada Mansour during the Egypt-Tunisia football match at the International Cairo stadium on Sunday.

The game, which the Egyptian team won 1-0, was in preparation for the African Cup, scheduled to take place on January 14 in Gabon and was attended by former President Hosni Mubarak’s sons Alaa and Gamal.

Those arrested, who include Zamalek’s hardcore football fans, the Ultras White Knights, will appear before the Nasr City Prosecution on Monday, according to lawyer Mokhtar Mounir.

While the charges have not been officially disclosed, Mounir wrote in a statement published on Facebook that the attendees were arrested for calling for the prosecution of Zamalek Club President Mortada Mansour. They allegedly raised a banner which supposedly read: “311 days since the massacre at the Air Defense stadium, prosecute Mortada Mansour.”

In February 2015, 22 people were killed at the Air Defense Stadium during clashes between Zamalek supporters and police. The altercations broke out when a large number of fans tried to enter the military-owned stadium. The gates were obstructed with barbed wire and iron cages, and police claimed they were attempting to enter without tickets and attacking security forces, forcing them to disperse the crowds with tear gas.

The banner raised by fans during Sunday’s match claimed Mansour was involved in the deaths.

During investigations the defense team was prompted to withdraw after discovering that defendants had been arrested from their homes, tortured and compelled to implicate the Muslim Brotherhood in the incident.

In an official statement issued in March of that year the general prosecutor announced that White Nights Head Sayed Moshagheb, and several other leaders, were members of the Muslim Brotherhood, and were involved in the murder of the soccer fans. The statement accused them of thuggery, vandalizing buildings and public and private property, and resisting arrest.

Mosagheb was subsequently held in solitary confinement in Aqrab Prison for seven months. To protest his treatment he began a hunger strike, which was widely supported by activists on social media who launched a campaign in October. His lawyer, Osama al-Gouhary, told Mada Masr at the time that Moshagheb was the only prisoner on pretrial detention in Aqrab, which typically holds prisoners who have already been sentenced.

Mansour is also facing an attempt to lift his parliamentary immunity, after former member of the national football team Ahmed Hassan filed a legal request last week. Hassan accused of him of thuggery and defamation.

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