Five acquitted in Port Said trial

Sunday 23-08-2015 11:11 AM
Five acquitted in Port Said trial

Demonstrators in front of Port Said Stadium on February 8, 2013 - Aswat Masriya


CAIRO, Aug 23 (Aswat Masriya) - Five people were acquitted on Sunday, after facing trial for the deadly violence that took place in a football stadium in the northeastern city of Port Said in February 2012.

The court sentenced another defendant to 10 years, while the death sentence handed to one defendant in absentia earlier this year still stands, the judge presiding over the trial said. The  trial was aired live on state television.

Seventy-three defendants faced trial for killing over 70 football fans in February 2012 at the end of a match between Cairo's Al Ahly and Port Said's al-Masry football clubs. They include nine security leaders and three Masry club officials. 

In June, Port Said's criminal court ruled on the case, sentencing 11 to death, acquitting 21 and handing the remaining defendants prison terms varying from 15 to five years. The sentence can be appealed.  

The seven people sentenced on Sunday had been tried in absentia and their retrial procedures were repeated following their arrests, as per Egyptian laws on trial in absentia.

In January 2013, a Port Said criminal court ruled on the case, sentencing 21 defendants to death. However, Egypt's Court of Cassation overturned the sentences in February 2014, ordering a retrial.

Violence erupted in the port city following the 2013 verdict as thousands of people besieged Port Said's prison. At least 40 people were killed in clashes.

Another deadly incident broke out earlier this year ahead of a game between Zamalek and Enppi clubs on February 8, leaving at least 19 people dead.

The police said a "stampede" occurred after fans arrived without tickets and "scrambled to storm the gates and climb the stadium's fence."   

However, "Ultras White Knights" group, which supports the Zamalek Sporting Club, said the police "initiated with firing teargas towards fans."

In May, an Egyptian urgent matters court banned the activities of all ultra's fan groups nationwide, accusing them of complicity in "riots" and vandalism.

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