Ten Sentenced to Death in Egypt For The Deaths of More Than 70 People in 2012
Egypt’s high court has approved the death sentences of 10 men accused of their role in the 2012 football riot that killed 74 fans at Port Said stadium and sparked increasing violence in the country.
The February incident which is the country’s deadliest sport-related violence led to a post-match pitch invasion by supporters following a premier match clash between home team Al-Masry and Cairo’s Al-Ahly.
The final ruling by the Court of Cassation excluded the 11th defendant still at large following his death penalty confirmation in June 2015 by another court.
The verdict also approved an unappealable lower court’s sentencing of 10 men to life in prison and 12 others to five years. The charges included murder and attempted murder.
Many were crushed to death when fearful Al-Ahly fans attempted to flee the stadium while others according to witnesses, were stabbed or thrown from terraces.
A bereaved group of 20 relatives welcomed Monday’s verdict with relief, feeling justice had been served with many ululating outside the court while holding portraits of their dead loved ones.
“For five years my heart and my blood were boiling,” said Sareya Mohamed Ragab, whose 22-year-old was among the victims, adding that she can now “live again”.
Another grieving Ahmed Mohamed, 59, in an emotional response expressed relief at finally getting justice for his dead son Amr.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”I waited for justice for my son for six years in torture and pain. Thank God the moment has come when I can say that justice has been done,”[/perfectpullquote]
However, the riot whose motive was linked to the political unrest that captivated the country since the overthrow of the former leader, Hosni Mubarak in 2011 was in much to blame for police negligence.
The Ultras – supporters of Al-Ahly and another club in Cairo – played a significant part in the uprising that led to Mubarak’s removal from the presidency.
Following the clash, there have been accusations hurled at authorities for deliberately failing to intervene after the violent outbreak so as to seek revenge for the uprising.
However, among the 12 serving a five-year sentence is Port Said’s security chief at the time.
Since the incident, Egypt controlled the number of match spectators by having premier league matches played out of sight.
But supporters have often tried to force their way into stadiums despite the prohibition which was partially lifted in 2015 but reinstated after forceful attempts to enter the stadiums, led to another football-related death toll.
In February 2015, at least 22 people were killed outside a stadium when security forces stopped fans from entering to watch two Cairo clubs, Zamalek and Enppi.
Most of the casualties died from suffocation after a stampede resulted from police using tear gas in an attempt to clear the forceful fans.
Featured photo: AFP