Verdict on Duweiqa rockslide disaster set for 26 June

The Gamaliya Misdemeanor Appeals Court has scheduled a verdict to be delivered on 26 June in the retrial of five Cairo Governorate officials over the deaths of 119 people and the injuries of 55 following a 2008 rockslide in Duweiqa, Cairo.

Defendants include Manshiyet Nasser municipality chief Ahmed Mohamed and the district's housing department official, Mamdouh Saad. All had been sentenced to one year in jail by a summary court, before an appeal by defense lawyers resulted in a retrial.

Plaintiffs' lawyers demanded that the court uphold the earlier verdict and oblige them to pay LE10,001 in compensation to each of the victims' families.

Defense lawyers, meanwhile, held Egypt's former first lady Suzanne Mubarak fully responsible for the catastrophe by allowing the construction of housing units in the area without installing a sanitary drainage system. This led the residents to discharge sewage waters near Moqattam Mountain, leading to the rockslide.

The lawyers warned that the disaster might reoccur since governorate officials have yet to solve the drainage problem. They accused the Mubarak regime of presenting the defendants as scapegoats for Cairo's former governor and his deputies, demanding the jail sentence be revoked and their clients be acquitted. They cited a report by the governorate following a visit to the accident's scene, which apparently proves the accused officials were not to blame for the disaster.

The lawyers also noted that a similar incident occurred in 2006 but left no casualties, as the accused officials evacuated the area based on reports that it was unsafe for residence.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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