Egypt’s Court of Cassation has upheld the death sentences issued against 10 defendants who had been convicted of murder-related charges in a soccer stadium massacre some five years ago.
The final rulings were issued on Monday, confirming the same verdicts which had been handed down by a lower Egyptian court in June 2015, when 11 people faced capital punishment, including one in absentia. However, the court today ordered a retrial for the eleventh suspect, who is still at large.
The ten defendants were found guilty of premeditated and attempted murder, thuggery, vandalism and mugging.
The tragic incident, the country's deadliest sports-related violence, occurred in the northeastern city of Port Said on February 1, 2012, when thousands of al-Masry soccer team's fans stormed the stands and pitch following their team's 3 -1 victory against Cairo's al-Ahly, violently attacking the defeated team’s spectators, using knives, swords, clubs, rocks, bottles and fireworks.
The rioting claimed the lives of 74 Ahly supporters, and inflicted injuries on more than 500 other people. Seventy-three suspects, including nine police officers and two officials from Port Said’s al-Masry club, were also charged in the wake of the massacre.
The court on Monday also issued 15-year prison terms for 10 other defendants and five-year terms for 15 others. One defendant also received a one-year jail term while 21 others were acquitted.
Monday's verdicts were warmly welcomed by the family and relatives of the victims, celebrating outside the court in Cairo.