Egyptian court adjourns Port Said massacre retrial to 21 September
El-Sayed Gamal El-Deen, Saturday 23 Aug 2014
The prosecution demanded Saturday that the upmost sentences be imposed on 73 defendants accused of premeditated murder against Ahly fans at a football match in February 2012

A court in Ismailiya adjourned Saturday to 21 September the retrial of all 73 defendants accused of participation in the Port Said Stadium massacre.

The defendants were originally given sentences rangingfrom 15 years to life in prison.

In February, a court accepted a prosecution appeal in the case, meaning that 64 defendants will be retried.

The defendants were convicted of the murder of over 70 Ahly fans, nine security personnel and three officials from Al-Masry Club at a football match in Port Said in February 2012.

In Saturday's court session, the prosecution asked the court to rule with the upmost sentence on defendants.

The prosecution presented the court with evidence that the defendants committed murder with premeditation.

Meanwhile, the defence team asked the court Saturday for testimonies from Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim and General Ahmed El-Sayed Gamal El-Deen, a former head of state security who was in charge when the massacre took place.

The defence further demanded testimonies from other officials in the case.

Security forces were widely accused of allowing the violence to escalate. Ultras Ahlawy, hardcore fans of Ahly, say the event was politically driven as revenge for their role in organising the January 2011 uprising.

In January 2013, a court sentenced 21 Masry fans to death while delaying the sentences on 52 others for legal reasons. Ahly fans welcomed the sentences but were angered that no police officers were convicted. More than 40 people were killed in protests after the verdict in Port Said.

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

Investigations revealed that the defendants attacked the victims immediately after the match using knives and stones, threw some of them from the stands, and packed them into a small exit path while firing fireworks at them with deadly intent.

They were also accused of stealing and vandalising personal and public property.