Interior Ministry spokesperson Hani Abdel Latif vehemently denied accusations Wednesday that the ministry is moving to New Cairo over fears officials will be targeted ahead of a 9 March ruling in the Port Said football stadium massacre.
“It has nothing to do with the verdict in Port Said massacre,” he said.
Latif said some ministry departments would begin moving their offices to New Cairo this week after a year of deliberations. According to Latif, New Cairo is home to several new residential areas and schools, which appealed to staff.
On Wednesday, unnamed sources within the ministry told Al-Masry Al-Youm that Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim was afraid of repercussions after violence spread during the first verdict on the case 26 January, prompting him to order the move.
The sources added that the minister will use Former Minister Habib al-Adly's offices in Nasr City or work out of the Police Academy in New Cairo.
They added that the ministry's decision is yet another example of the police abandoning their posts, which is in the interest of the Muslim Brotherhood since it seeks greater control over security forces.
Al-Masry Al-Youm attempted to speak to Ibrahim, but was unable to reach him on his mobile. Officials in the ministry's information center said they were unaware of a moving order.
The Port Said Criminal Court sentenced 21 defendants to death for their involvement in the massacre, sparking clashes that killed at least 40 community members.
The fate of the other 75 defendants is set to be determined 9 March.
The defendants are accused of killing 72 Ahly football fans after a match with Port Said's Al-Masry club in February last year.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm