What’s unclear from the Port Said prosecution file is why the police would be complicit in the deaths of fans. Nine officers are among the defendants, though none has been sentenced yet. Their fates, along with those of 45 other defendants, are expected to be learned March 9.
Video of the stampede shows that thousands were involved. But the prosecution file – based on interviews with fans of both teams, reporters at the game, stadium lighting experts and police, as well as autopsy reports and videos – suggests that what took place was closely planned in a meeting two days before the game. That meeting was attended by some of the 21 people who were sentenced to death last Saturday.
The prosecution noted that the rivalry between the teams dates back decades. In the years before Mubarak’s 2011 fall, the police anticipated possible violence and did things such as escorting Cairo fans out of Port Said and searching fans before they entered the stadium.
But none of those security measures were in place for the 2012 game, even though both teams’ “ultras” had begun making threats on their Facebook fan pages in the days before the match, the file said.
“Port Said is waiting for you with knives and pistols,” one of the messages read.
“If you are coming to Port Said, write your mother a will because you will die for sure,” read another.
In Port Said, a group of ultras sanctioned by the al Masry club, called Super Green, met to plot their attack on visiting al Ahly fans, the file alleges. They were led by a 21-year-old ultra named Mohammed Adel Mohammed, or Hummus, as he’s known among ultras and Port Said residents. In the case file and in Port Said, Hummus’ name is synonymous with the case. Calls for his release are painted on the exterior of the stadium.
“Defendants premeditated the killing of some of the Ahly club fans (ultras) to retaliate for previous disputes between them and to show off their strength. For this purpose, they used weapons (knives and sticks) and explosive materials, such as flames, and rocks and other items to assault people,” the file says.
The al Masry ultras began attacking even before the game, ambushing the al Ahly team at its hotel with rocks and insults. The taunting continued at the stadium, the file says, with several al Masry fans changing their clothes and weapons throughout the day to make it harder to identify them in security video.
Throughout, Port Said police “didn’t interfere in any way, which was seen on the videos,” the file says.
Port Said’s al Masry team won 3-1, an upset. As soon as the final whistle blew, the suspected al Masry ultras made their move toward the seating section reserved for al Ahly fans, the file alleges. They threw Molotov cocktails and began attacking the al Ahly partisans with bricks and chairs.
“Al Mando was seen taking a blade from his mouth on video,” the file claims, referring to one ultra by his nickname. Another, “Chocolate,” said he’d attended the planning but he denied being at the stadium. The leader, Hummus, admitted to throwing rocks at al Ahly fans, the prosecution alleges. Others told the prosecution that they saw him carrying Molotov cocktails, knives and sticks, as well.