Egypt court up­holds 11 death terms over 2012 soc­cer ri­ots

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

An Egyptian court Tues­day up­held death sen­tences against 11 soc­cer fans over a Fe­bru­ary 2012 riot in the eastern city of Port Said that cost the lives of 74 peo­ple.

The Port Said riot, the coun­try’s dead­li­est sports-re­lated un­rest, broke out when fans of home team Al-Masry and Cairo’s Al-Ahly clashed af­ter a pre­mier league match be­tween the two clubs.

A Cairo crim­i­nal court con­firmed death sen­tences passed in April against 11 Al-Masry fans, one of whom is on the run, af­ter con­sult­ing Egypt’s grand mufti, the gov­ern­ment in­ter­preter of Is­lamic law who plays an ad­vi­sory role.

The court also sen­tenced two po­lice of­fi­cers, in­clud­ing then Port Said’s po­lice chief Es­sam Samak, and two Al-Masry club of­fi­cials to five years in jail.

The rest of 72 de­fen­dants were handed sen­tences of be­tween one and 15 years be­hind bars. The court ac­quit­ted 21 de­fen­dants, in­clud­ing seven se­cu­rity of­fi­cers and an Al-Masry of­fi­cial.

Among the de­fen­dants were nine po­lice of­fi­cers and three of­fi­cials from Al-Masry, and the rest were fans of the Port Said club.

Tues­day’s sen­tence can still be ap­pealed be­fore Egypt’s cas­sa­tion court.

An ap­peals court had or­dered a re­trial of the 72 de­fen­dants in Fe­bru­ary 2014 af­ter re­ject­ing an ini­tial lower court ver­dict sen­tenc­ing 21 peo­ple to death.

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