An Egyptian court yesterday confirmed death sentences for 11 defendants over a deadly football riot in 2012 in Egypt’s Port Said.
The Port Said Criminal Court sentenced to death 11 defendants who have been charged with violence that caused the death of dozens of football fans in a case publicly known as the “Port Said stadium massacre.”
Investigations revealed that the defendants attacked the victims immediately after the match using knives and stones, threw some of them from the stands, and packed them into a small exit path while firing fireworks at them with deadly intent.
This is the final verdict of the Criminal Court, but it still can be appealed at the Court of Cassation, the country’s highest legal court whose rulings are final.
On April 19, the Port Said Criminal Court decided to refer the papers of the 11 defendants implicated in the case to the Grand Mufti, the country’s interpreter of religious law, to take his religious opinion about their death sentences. On March 2013, Port Said criminal court reaffirmed death sentences for 21 of them and sentenced five defendants to life imprisonment.
The court has also acquitted 28 defendants, including seven senior security officials. However, the Court of Cassation ordered a retrial in February 2014 after accepting appeals by both the prosecution and defendants.
Some 72 soccer fans were killed and 254 others injured in Egypt’s worst ever violent soccer riot that erupted at the end of a match between local Al Ahly and Port Said-based Al Masry clubs in February of 2012 in the Suez Canal city of Port Said. — Xinhua.