Court preliminarily sentences 11 defendants to death for 2012 Port Said stadium violence

Sunday 19-04-2015 11:54 AM
Court preliminarily sentences 11 defendants to death for 2012 Port Said stadium violence

Mourners attend the funerals of 33 people who died on Saturday, during clashes provoked by a court verdict on a deadly stadium disaster last year, in Port Said January 27, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer


CAIRO, Apr 19 (Aswat Masriya) - The Port Said Criminal Court referred on Sunday 11 defendants to the Grand Mufti to issue an opinion on sentencing them to death over murder charges during stadium violence which erupted in the canal city of Port Said in February 2012.

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

The court postponed the verdict on the remaining defendants until May 30. It also issued a media gag order in the case.

The judge also ordered the swift capture of all seven defendants who remain at large.

Consulting Egypt's Grand Mufti is a procedural step adopted in all cases which involve death sentences. The Mufti's rulings are not binding, yet it is customary for the court to adopt them.

In January 2013, a Port Said Criminal Court sentenced 21 defendants to death for partaking in a stadium riot in which more than 70 died.

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

The Port Said Criminal Court also later sentenced five other defendants to life in prison, 10 to 15 years in prison, six to 10 years in prison, two to five years in prison and one to a year's labour. It meanwhile acquitted 28 defendants, including seven former police leaders.

Egypt's Court of Cassation overturned the sentences in February 2014, ordering a retrial.

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