x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Egypt's security heads charged over live ammo fired at crowds

The head of the hated state security agency, the Cairo security chief and the heads of general security and the riot police have been accused by prosecutors of ordering the use of live ammunition against protesters during the early days of the country's uprising.

CAIRO // Egypt's prosecutor general has accused four top security officials of ordering the use of live ammunition against protesters during the early days of the country's uprising.

Protesters have been calling for the trial of police officials responsible for the death of more than 300 protesters during the 18-day uprising that forced the long-time leader Hosni Mubarak to step down.

Police confronted the huge protests with tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition.

The prosecution announced the accusations yesterday against the Cairo security chief, the head of the hated state security agency, and the heads of General Security and the riot police.

The four, already under house arrest, will be jailed for four days pending investigation.

The announcement came as Egypt's new military rulers have ordered the release of two Islamist prisoners jailed over the 1981 assassination of President Anwar Sadat, state television reported yesterday.

Cousins Tareq and Abbud al Zomor, members of Egypt's Islamic Jihad, were convicted for their involvement in Sadat's murder but were never discharged from jail after their sentences expired.

Abbud al Zomor, at the time a senior military intelligence officer, was due to be released in 2006 but was kept in prison, while Tareq al Zomor was first ordered released in 2003 but was also kept behind bars.

The former interior minister Habib al Adly had used discretionary powers granted by the emergency law to overrule several judicial release orders.

The two were among 69 political prisoners freed on the orders of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which took power in Egypt after Mr Mubarak was forced to step down.

The military rulers said those released would be subject to surveillance for five years.

Sadat was shot dead by Islamic militants at a military parade in Cairo on October 6, 1981, three years after he signed the 1978 Camp David Accords that led to a peace treaty in 1979 with Israel, the first by an Arab country.

Abbud al Zomor is one of the members of the group who carried out the attack, while Tareq al Zomor was said to be involved in the planning.

The main convict in the case, Khaled al Islamboulli, was executed in 1982.