Egypt court postpones verdict in Port Said stadium massacre retrial

Ahram Online , Saturday 30 May 2015

The court has extended a media gag on the case until the date of the final verdict on 9 June

Blood-Port Said
Blood on a seat at Port Said stadiums in February 2012 (Photo:Reuters)

A Port Said criminal court on Saturday adjourned to 9 June its final verdict in the retrial of the Port Said Stadium massacre case, as well as extended a media gag on the case to that date.

In the case, 73 defendants are accused of killing 74 Ahly football club fans during a game in Port Said in February 2012 between the Cairo team and Port Said's Masry club. 

The defendants include nine high-ranking police officers from the Port Said security directorate, as well as three officials from the Masry football club.

In April, the court sentenced 11 defendants to death in the case and referred their papers to Egypt’s Grand Mufti, the state's highest religious authority on religious edicts, for him to issue his opinion on their verdicts according to Islamic Sharia law. 

In January 2013, an Egyptian court initially sentenced 21 Masry fans to death, while postponing the sentences of 52 others for legal reasons. In Cairo, Ahly fans welcomed the sentences, but were angered that no police officers had been convicted. In Port Said, over 40 people were killed in protests after the verdict was announced.

In March 2013, an appeal court upheld the 21 death sentences, sentenced five people to life in jail and ordered jail sentences for the others, including 15 years for two police officers. Another 28 people were acquitted, including seven policemen.

In February 2014, the Court of Cassation accepted a prosecution appeal in the case, and ordered a retrial.

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