Radio Sandwell News

Egypt: Death sentences over Port Said stadium violence

2013-01-26 11:48:22

An Egyptian court has sentenced to death 21 defendants over clashes between rival football fans in which 74 people were killed in February 2012.

The riots - Egypt's worst-ever football disaster - began after a top-league game at Port Said stadium.

The ruling sparked a clash outside Port Said prison, where defendants are held, with one police officer shot dead.

The sentences came after clashes erupted on the second anniversary of the uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak.

Friday saw thousands of people take to the streets to voice their opposition to Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, accusing him of betraying the revolution.

At least seven people were killed and more than 450 wounded in unrest across Egypt.

Last year's football riots led to the suspension of the league.

They began minutes after the game in Port Said. Fans of local side al-Masry fans invaded the pitch, hurling stones and fireworks at visiting supporters from Cairo club al-Ahly - known as "ultras".

At the time some fans said security forces did little to prevent the clashes. They also accused supporters of toppled President Hosni Mubarak of instigating the incident.

The violence in Port Said sparked riots in Cairo during which a further 16 people died.

After Saturday's verdict was delivered, relatives of those sentenced to death tried to storm Port Said prison, Egypt's state-run Nile TV reported. One policeman was killed in the clash, security officials said.

Seventy-three people, including policemen, were tried over the stadium clashes.

The judge said he would announce the verdict for the remaining 52 defendants on 9 March.


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