The prosecution had charged the “Ultras White Knights,” the hardcore fans of Zamalek football club, with organising an unauthorised march, assaulting residents, sabotage of public and private property, blocking a road and possession of weapons.
Initially, 36 members were arrested after reportedly being involved in clashes with security forces in Cairo’s Shubra neighbourhood but only 26 stood in trial. The fans were protesting against the detention of some of their colleagues who are accused of trying to assassinate club chairman Mortada Mansour last August.
A controversial protest law was issued last year that only allows protests approved by the government and sets heavy fines and lengthy jail terms for violators. The law has been heavily protested and condemned by many political parties, human rights activists and international rights organisations.