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Court uphold 11 death sentences in Port Said massacre retrial
An Egyptian Court has upheld 11 death sentences for supporters and officials involved in the massacre in Port Said in 2012. 72 Al Ahly supporters tragically lost their lives in the incident, one of the darkest days in not just Egyptian football, but world football as a whole.
The retrial, which has been in the pipeline for the Egyptian court system for quite some time, saw the upholding of 11 death sentences for supporters and officials involved in the clash, with 10 of the 11 men present in court as the verdict was delivered. A total of 73 accused in the massacre were sentenced, with 10 defendants receiving 15 year prison sentences, 15 defendants receiving 10 year prison sentences and a further 15 defendants receiving 5 year prison sentences. One other defendant also received a one year prison sentence for his role in the violence.
Notable defendants in the case included the former head of Port Said Security Forces, Essam Samak, who received a five year prison sentence for his role in the tragedy, with many people still under the impression that security forces deliberately blocked off exits to the stadium following chants made by Al Ahly fans to the government at the time during the match. Mohamed Saad, the head of Maritime Poice in Port Said also received a 5 year prison sentence.
Several police officers as well as Al Masry club officials were sentenced during the same trial, with none receiving the death sentence. The verdicts come with controversy, with the decision of the court not final, as appeals are able to be made to overturn or lessen the sentences handed out to the accused.
The massacre was covered worldwide, with many fans and federations condemning the actions of fans and security forces during the game and in the aftermath. A dark day in the history of not just Egyptian football, but football as a whole, and one which could see an extended search for justice for the families of fans who lost their lives.