Judges Withdraw From Port Said Stadium Massacre Retrial

The judges have withdrawn from the retrial of 11 defendants in the Port Said stadium case, citing personal and legal conflicts, a judicial source has said.

The trial has been adjourned until 10 August.

Eleven of the original 73 defendants are being retried after a decision by the Court of Cassation in February.

Seventy-four people died in the worst disaster in Egyptian sporting history. The match in February 2012 between Cairo’s Ahly and Port Said’s Masry ended in serious clashes that also injured more than 200 people.

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.

The prosecution had charged the defendants with murder and attempted murder with a variety of weapons. Investigations said 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.

Source : Ahram online

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