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THE WORLD | IN BRIEF / EGYPT

11 Rail Officials Are Acquitted in Disaster

September 30, 2002|From Times Wire Reports

Eleven Egyptian railway officials were acquitted of negligence charges in the country's worst rail disaster, which killed 361 people in February when flames ripped through a crowded train.

The verdict, delivered by a criminal court in central Cairo, was met with whoops of joy from a courtroom packed with media, as well as friends and relatives of the men--minor officials of Egypt's state railway authority.

Defense lawyers had argued that the officials were being made scapegoats for years of negligence and mismanagement in the upper echelons of government and the railway authority.

Prosecutors said a small stove was the source of the blaze.

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