Criminal Court headed by Gaber Al-Maraghy decided on Wednesday the final verdict against fourteen defendants involved in ”Egypt’s railway station” case to be issued on 9 March, local media reported on Wednesday.
The court’s decision came after the defense team pleaded their case against charges of negligence that lead to the deaths of 25 people and the injuring of 50 others.
The case dates back to 27 February 2019, when a train locomotive smashed through a buffer stop at the Cairo main railway station, resulting in a large fire. The train driver is said to have stepped off the locomotive without putting the brakes on.
During Wednesday’ session, the defence team denied accusations levelled against clients, urging that the main reason behind this incident and most train accidents in general is due to the “presence of severe corruption in Egypt’s railway system.”
“These defendants are victims and were arrested to quell public reactions on the incident,” the defence lawyer said.
The lawyer requested the acquittal of all the defendants and recommended the state to improve Egypt’s railway system.
According to the privately-owned Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper, the lawyer urged that this specific court is not specialised to handle a case such as this, as it should only lead to a misdemeanour, claiming that the national railway system has deteriorated years ago and does not reach contemporary standards.
The defendants include the two conductors, two manoeuver workers, and other railway staff. They are facing charges of negligence, forging signatures in attendance documents, and violating operating safety regulations.
In June, the north Cairo prosecution referred 14 suspects to criminal court due to the deadly accident. A few days after the incident, the prosecution revealed that the locomotive driver [among defendants] is responsible for the accident and the manoeuver operator of the same railcar both tested positive for the potent narcotic ‘strox’ and faces charges including intentional murder and neglect.