The life of each one of the 1,000 plus Egyptians killed when the Salam 98 ferry sank in 2006 is worth about 11 hours in prison for ferry owner, former lawmaker and business tycoon Mamdouh Ismail, who has been sentenced in absentia to seven years behind bars for “involuntary slaughter,” say Egyptian bloggers.
The disaster has been described as “the deadliest disasters in modern maritime history.”
Zeinobia broke the news on Twitter announcing the verdict:
The disaster goes back to February 2006, when Salam 98 sank in the middle of Red Sea, killing more than 1,200 Egyptians who were returning from Saudi Arabia; as well as crew who are said to have been kidnapped so as not to testify against Ismail. The ferry's victims were mostly poor workers who were looking forward to spending their vacation with their families in Egypt.
In July 2008, the court declared Ismail not guilty, causing rage and anger among people. The sentence was appealed and it was only today that Ismail was found guilty.
And despite claims that the victims’ families are happy with the sentence, because they believe it’s the harshest to have for a person in his position within such a corrupt system, many Egyptians still believe the verdict came very late, and was unjust when compared to the 1,200 Egyptians who drowned at sea.
Ahmed Shokier, another Egyptian blogger, posts two photographs of judges involved with the case – one of Ahmed Refaa El Najaar who said Mamdouh not guilty, and the other for Khaled Badr El Deen who declared the suspect guilty and sentenced him to seven years in prison. In a cynical remark, Ahmed titled his post “Justice has many faces.”
Meanwhile, Arabawy displayed a video [En] by Al Jazeera International reporting on the victim’s families reactions when they first heard the news.
Zeinobia, as usual, wrote a comprehensive round up about the case, where she expressed her concerns that the last verdict is no more than an anaesthetic to the public as Ismail is currently in London, and its known that there is no extradition agreement between Egypt and the UK, which means he will be safely enjoying his time abroad.
She asked if someone could sue him in London, or if Egyptians could boycott his companies and hotels. She also concluded her post stressing that, as long as Ismail is in London, the case of Salam98 is not finished yet.
However, and according to her, it might end someday at the hands of one angry Egyptian:
Again all what I can say is that I wish someone will sue him in London, also I wish that we boycott his companies and hotels in Egypt ,here is the list of his empire in Egypt
• El-Salam Maritime transportation company.
• El-Salam Tourism development company that owns :
X Concorde El-Salam at Misr El Gadida, Cairo
X Concorde Sharm El-Sheikh, Sinai.
• Telstar travel at Tahrir Square, Cairo.
The case of the Al-Salam Ferry 98 has not finished yet as long as Ismail is in London. The case of the missing crew members is still open.
Sometimes I feel that Mamdouh Ismail will be killed on the hands of some angry Upper Egyptian.