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Egypt's chief coroner: Port Said football victims were killed by suffocation

Drawing fury from victims' relatives, Egypt's chief coroner says lack of surface wounds suggests those slain in February's Port Said bloodshed died as a result of suffocation caused by stampede

Ahram Online , Wednesday 9 May 2012
Port Said stadium
File photo: Blood is seen on a chair one day after supporters clashed at the Port Said stadium February 2, 2012. (Photo: Reuters)
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Egypt’s chief coroner Kamil Ihsan Georgi, giving testimony in the ongoing Port Said massacre trial on Wednesday in a Cairo court, stated that none of the 73 slain victims had suffered surface wounds on their bodies that would indicate bodily assault, strongly suggesting that all of the deaths and injuries had been the result of a stampede, which led to suffocation.

Victims’ relatives in attendance objected to Georgi’s statements, briefly causing a disturbance in the courtroom and loudly insisting that at least some of the victims had been killed with the use of bladed weapons.

The presiding judge eventually restored order, stating that it was up to the court to accept or reject the coroner’s statements. He went on to stress that all the documents related to the autopsies were in the court’s possession.

The defence team also reiterated its request to transfer trial proceedings to a Port Said court and to summon a psychologist for questioning, in line with laws governing the prosecution of minors. Among the 75 defendants in the case facing murder charges, two are minors.

A screen has already been set up inside the courtroom on which to show video footage related to the violence and other evidence, following the questioning of eyewitnesses.

The Port Said Stadium tragedy took place on 1 February following a football match between rival teams. According to official reports, 73 people were killed in the violence and hundreds were injured. 

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