Egypt court upholds 11 death sentences in 2012 football stadium riot

Egypt court upholds 11 death sentences in 2012 football stadium riot
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Published February 20th, 2017 - 16:17 GMT via SyndiGate.info

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Another 21 were acquitted. Charges ranged from premeditated and attempted murder to theft and vandalism.
Another 21 were acquitted. Charges ranged from premeditated and attempted murder to theft and vandalism.

Ten defendants in a 2012 Egyptian football stadium riot, in which 74 people were killed, saw their death sentences upheld by an Egyptian court Monday.

The Court of Cassation rejected their final appeal. It also confirmed a five-year-sentence for the then-Port Said police chief and other security officials.

Another 21 were acquitted. Charges ranged from premeditated and attempted murder to theft and vandalism.

The riots took place on February 1, 2012 in the city of Port Said. The clashes between fans of Port Said's al-Masry team and visiting Cairo team al-Ahly are believed to be the country's worst-ever football-related violence.

In 2015, a Cairo court sentenced 11 men to death in the case, with one defendant sentenced in absentia. Monday's verdict did not include his name.

On Monday, tight security measures were taken in Port Said, some 160 kilometres north-east of Cairo. Riot police were deployed around the central prison, the security headquarters and other vital institutions. Families of defendants gathered outside the Port Said Security Directorate, chanting against the ruling.

The stadium clashes took place during Egypt's tense and highly politicized period of military rule after the January 2011 revolution, which ended three decades of rule by dictator Hosny Mubarak.

After the match, al-Masry supporters stormed the pitch and started attacking al-Ahly players and fans. Spectators were stabbed with knives and pushed from the top of the stadium, according to witness accounts.

Al-Ahly Ultras accused members of the police force of conspiring against them with their rivals because of their prominent role in the 2011 revolution and subsequent anti-government rallies.

Clashes between police and residents of Port Said after the initial verdict in 2013 left more than 40 people dead.

The riots led to the suspension of Egypt's domestic football for more than a year. Matches later resumed, but most matches are still conducted behind closed doors.

© 2017 dpa GmbH

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