Egypt’s court confirms death verdict on 10 soccer fans

Egypt’s court confirms death verdict on 10 soccer fans

Egypt’s highest Court of Appeal has upheld death sentences for 10 people over a football riot that left 74 people dead in 2012.

The disaster, known to Egyptians as the Massacre of Port Said, occurred at the end of a game between the two bitter rivals.

Local fans of Al-Masry attacked those of the visiting team, Al Ahly, with many of the victims stabbed, beaten, kicked and crushed to death.

Witnesses and survivors described victims falling from the bleachers as they tried to escape. Hundreds of others fled into an exit passage, only to be crushed against a locked gate with their rivals attacking from behind.

The riot led to the suspension of Egypt’s top soccer league for over a year. The league later resumed, but with matches played in empty stadiums.

The first Egyptian Premier League game in which fans were allowed back into the stadiums was played in February 2015, but that occasion was also marred by the death of 22 fans in a stampede outside the grounds. The stampede followed the use of tear gas by police to stop what authorities at the time said was an attempt by fans to storm the military-owned stadium in a suburb east of Cairo.

A total of 11 defendants were sentenced to death but one remains at large and was tried in absentia.

The police were criticized for not doing enough to stop the violence, with some suggesting it had actually been orchestrated by officials in the unrest following the removal of long-time leader Hosni Mubarak from power.

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