Egypt court hands harsh jail terms to dozens over Port Said prison break

Ahram Online , Saturday 30 Apr 2016

The sentencing relates to rioting that followed death penalties handed to a number of defendants in the Port Said stadium disaster case

Port Said prison break
(Photo: Bassam Al Zoghby)

An Egyptian criminal court Saturday sentenced dozens to harsh jail terms for breaking into a jail in the canal city of Port Said over three years ago.

The incident was part deadly rioting in the city by some, including the relatives of 21 imprisoned people who were sentenced to death over the 2012 soccer stadium disaster that left over 70 fans killed.

The court Saturday handed down life sentences to 20 people, 10-year terms to 12 people and five-year sentences to 18.

The defendants are charged with the "premeditated killing' of two policemen and over 40 peaceful protesters.

The case against one of the defendants was dropped after he passed away. All sentences can still be appealed.

In January 2013, the same court sentenced 21 of 73 defendants to death for their involvement in bloody violence that saw more than 70 people killed after a local soccer match in February 2012.

The verdict sparked one of the worst spasms of violence in Port Said, mainly near a prison where most of the defendants were being held, leaving 40 dead.

Over 70 Ahly football club supporters were killed in the aftermath of crowd riots at Port Said stadium on 1 February 2012, when thousands of local team Masry fans stormed the pitch following the end of an ill-tempered league game and confronted the visiting fans.

All death sentences over involvement in the stadium deaths were appealed and slashed. Ten defendants received 15-year sentences, 16 received 10-year sentences, and 15 others received five-year sentences. One defendant received a one-year sentence. Twenty-six defendants were acquitted.

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