"I turned on the TV that day and saw the news. I came immediately to Egypt wearing only pajamas and slippers," said Sharaf, who had taken his family to the ferry so they could visit relatives in Cairo. "It was very humiliating the way my government treated us. We found only riot police. No one told us about our loved ones."
He paused. His folded hands tightened.
"Ismail is a traitor. He was a member of parliament and he was supposed to protect the people's interest," Sharaf said. "But then he escaped to London until his acquittal was assured. Throughout the trial the defendant's cage stayed empty."
He doesn't know where wife and children vanished to, beneath the sea, eaten by sharks, lying in graves marked "unknown bodies." He looked down. His eldest daughter, Lina, had a dream days before the ferry left port that the prophet Muhammad told her one day she would enter paradise. Sharaf told the story as if Lina would walk through the door at any moment. She did not.
Rage blew through him, quieted and gusted again.
"There won't be justice," he said. "But if he comes back here, he'll be eaten up by the families of the victims."
Sharaf spoke, on and on. He opened folders, pointed to documents; the accumulated facts of death.
In the back of the room, his only surviving son sat at a table, listening and never saying a word.
Noha El-Hennawy of The Times' Cairo Bureau contributed to this report.