11 sentenced to death, 21 acquitted in Port Said stadium violence
Port Said Massacre Trial - YOUM7/Hossam Atef

CAIRO: A Port Said Criminal Court on Tuesday upheld the death sentences against 11 defendants over murder charges during stadium violence which killed 74 football fans in Port Said stadium in 2012.

One of the defendants was sentenced to death in absentia.

Ten defendants received 15-year sentences, 13 received 10-year sentences, while 15 include former head of Port Said security directorate – received five-year sentences.

The court also acquitted other 21 defendants. The verdicts can be appealed.

On April 19, the same court referred death sentences against 11 defendants to the Grand Mufti to take his religious opinion. The court has set today’s session to confirm or commute the sentences.

On February 1, 2012, 74 soccer fans were brutally murdered and 254 others were injured in a riot at the Port Said stadium during a fixture between the Cairo-based al-Ahly FC and Al-Masry teams.

A Total of 73 defendants have been referred to the criminal court over charges including murder and weapon possession.

The defendants include nine high-ranking police officers from the Port Said security directorate, as well as three officials from the Masry football club.

On Feb. 6, 2014, The Court of Cassation accepted two appeals; one was filed by the attorney general’s office against the acquittals, and the other was filed by the defendants’ lawyers.

During the first trial in March 2013, 21 defendants were sentenced to death, five were sentenced to life, and 19, including former Port Said security director, were sentenced to jail terms ranging between 15 and one year. A total of 28 were found not guilty, but the prosecution appealed their acquittal.

After three-year suspension of fixtures between the two teams, they played in January despite the rejection of the victims’ relatives. The match was held in absence of fans of both clubs.

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