Tuesday 21 November 2017

Egypt jails 14 over deadly 2015 stadium stampede

Egypt jails 14 over deadly 2015 stadium stampede
(AFP 09/25/17)

An Egyptian court jailed two people for life on Sunday and 12 to between two and 10 years over violence that led to a deadly football stadium stampede in Cairo.

At least 19 people died in the disaster after police fired tear gas at fans who tried to push their way into the stadium in February 2015.

The defendants faced charges including murder, thuggery and vandalism, and were accused of clashing with police, leading to the stampede.

Two received life sentences, three were given 10 years, five got seven years, three were jailed for three years each and one received a two-year sentence.

Two people were acquitted.

All of the accused were in court for the verdict which can still be appealed.

The fixture between Cairo teams Zamalek and ENPPI was one of the first premier league games open to the public since a ban on fans after more than 70 people died in stadium riots in Port Said in 2012.

The government reinstated the ban after the 2015 stadium deaths in the capital.

Egypt's hard core football fans, known as Ultras, have often clashed with police, including in political unrest that toppled two presidents.

The prosecution accused the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, designated a "terrorist group" in 2013, of financing Zamalek supporters called Ultras White Knights to "spread chaos and suspend (football) activity".

The government cracked down on supporters of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, who was ousted by the army in July, 2013.

Initially, the crackdown mainly targeted Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, but later expanded to include other members of the opposition.

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