Said Moshagheb, a leading figure in Zamalek SC’s hardcore fan base, was arrested Monday and referred to the criminal court on charges of attempting to murder the club’s head, Mortada Mansour.
The arrest was confirmed by the Interior Ministry, who did not mention any further information. Rights Lawyer Tarek El-Awady said that Homeland Security arrested Moshagheb.
Moshageb is accused of storming into the club’s headquarters and damaging private property. He is to be investigated by the prosecution Tuesday, and is set to stand trial next Saturday on charges of attempting to kill Mansour.
After his arrest, the group published a statement saying that, after the arrest of tens of the group’s members, “Said Moshageb is arrested”. They added that such arrests will not “intimidate them”, vowing to retaliate.
Since Mansour took up the club’s chairmanship, there has been an ongoing feud with the Ultras White Knights, culminating in an alleged assassination attempt on Mansour in August 2014. The Ultras strongly deny the accusations, however, Mansour used his claim to submit a legal complaint to have Egypt’s Ultras movement listed as a terrorist group and banned.
The “assassination incident” occurred in October of last year as Mansour prepared to unveil the football club’s new coach, with Mansour telling the media that some of the team’s hardcore fans attacked him with acid. The video shows a young man slapping Mansour on the back of the neck in a parking lot.
The Ultras White Knights posted a video of the incident on their Facebook page, informing him it was actually urine. They also called him a “dog of the system” for his alleged connections to the Egyptian establishment.
Egyptian Ultras groups have become known for their anti-police and anti-government slogans, and are often involved in clashes with security forces. They played a prominent role in the 25 January Revolution and other confrontations with the police thereafter.
Clashes between groups of Ultras and security forces have been frequent since 74 members of the Ultras Ahlawy were killed following a match against Al-Masry on 1 February 2012. Dubbed the “Port Said Massacre”, Ultras members accused the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces of allowing the mayhem to continue unabated, even accusing security forces of barricading exits to the stadium.