Chaos in Egypt after football riot death sentences | inside World Soccer

Riots are once again plaguing Egypt after a court upheld death sentences for 21 defendants involved in a deadly football riot in Port Said last year.

An Al-Ahly fan raises a banner honoring fellow fans killed in the infamous Port Said disaster
An Al-Ahly fan raises a banner honoring fellow fans killed in the infamous Port Said disaster

Photo: AP

A Cairo court on Saturday confirmed the death sentences given to 21 football fans for their parts in the riot, which claimed 74 lives and left 1,000 people injured.

Listing the names of the 21 fans, the judge said the Cairo court had confirmed "the death penalty by hanging". He also sentenced five more people to life in jail for the riot and acquitted 28. Others out of a total of 73 defendants received shorter jail sentences.

The ruling enraged fans of Al-Ahly football club, whose members were killed in the riot took place at the end of a match against Al-Masry last year.

Ultras Ahlawy, a group of ardent Al-Ahly supporters, embarked on a rioting spree in Cairo after seven security officials were acquitted in the infamous Port Said disaster trial.

The raging fans set fire to a police social club, the nearby offices of the country's Football Association headquarters and a branch of a fast food chain, sending smoke rising over the capital.

Ultras Ahlawy had warned police that they would retaliate if the defendants were exonerated, intending to make up for what they perceive as lenient punishments for the culprits of Egypt's worst-ever football disaster.

Smoke rises from the Egyptian Football Association after protesters set fire
Smoke rises from the Egyptian Football Association after protesters set fire

Photo: AP

And in Port Said, where the defendants come from, have tried, so far unsuccessfully, to disrupt international shipping on the Suez Canal.

Spectators were crushed on 1 February last year after Port Said's local team, Al-Masry, beat Cairo's Al-Ahly 3-1. Some fell and were crushed, while others were thrown from terraces.

The case has highlighted worsening law and order in much of Egypt since the overthrow of former President Hosni Mubarak two years ago.

The Islamist government of President Mohamed Mursi is struggling to maintain law and order at a time of economic and political crisis.


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