CAIRO: Eleven defendants were sentenced to death in the trial known as the “Port Said Massacre” Sunday; the case dates back to 2012 when 74 football fans were killed.
The court sent the case files of the 11 defendants to Egypt’s Grand Mufti for his non-binding opinion on their execution. After the Mufti delivers his decision, the court will confirm or commute the death sentences and issue a sentence against the remaining defendants May 30. The final legal step for both the prosecution and the defendants would be a challenge before the Cassation Court.
Two of those sentenced to death are at large, and one was released in the first trial. They do not include police officers. The 73 total defendants, however, include nine police chiefs at Port Said security directorate and three officials from Al-Masry Club, which was playing against the Cairean Al-Ahly Club at the time of the deaths.
The 11 defendants are in their early twenties, except an 18 and a 44-year old.
During the first trial of the same case in March 2013, 21 were sentenced to death, five were sentenced to life, and 19 were sentenced to terms ranging between 15 and one year in prison, including former Port Said security director Abdullah Samak. A total of 28 were found not guilty, but the prosecution appealed their acquittal.
The defendants were charged with a range of crimes, including murder and possessing weapons.