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Egyptian Court Confirms Death Sentences in Soccer Riot

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/10/world/middleeast/egypt-sentences-2012-soccer-riot.html
March 9, 2013
Egyptian Court Confirms Death Sentences in Soccer Riot
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS [Egypt] [MENA] [Middle East] [MENA] [charges that Egypt under President Morsi is rather like Egypt under Mubarak?] [Egypt continues to struggle with what its future holds?] [protests against Morsi’s govt have occurred regularly since the anniversary of the revolution (Feb 2011)] [as Morsi’s govt continues to look impotent in the face of rising discontent, Egypt’s considerable security—sounds like both interior and defense?—demonstrated to signal unease inside the govt (I would think the military is the specific one that worries folks)] [use psci 350, 355-455, use PSCI 494 for those doing MENA revolutions] [Egyptian court affirms sentences in soccer riot in north (death sentences)] [followup, Mar 8] [*]
CAIRO — An Egyptian court on Saturday confirmed death sentences against 21 people for their role in a deadly 2012 soccer riot that killed more than 70 people in the city of Port Said.
The court also sentenced Port Said’s former security chief, Maj. Gen. Essam Samak, to 15 years in prison. General Samak was the most senior of nine security officials tried for their part in the riot. Another police official, a colonel, was also sentenced to 15 years. Seven others were acquitted, a decision that led enraged protesters to burn the soccer federation headquarters and a police club in Cairo in protest.
Judge Sobhi Abdel-Maguid, who read the verdict at a Cairo courthouse, sentenced five more defendants to life in prison and eight others — besides General Samak and the police colonel — to 15 years. Six defendants received 10-year terms, two more got five years and a single defendant received a 12-month sentence. A total of 28 people were acquitted.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/10/world/middleeast/egypt-sentences-2012-soccer-riot.html
March 9, 2013
Egyptian Court Confirms Death Sentences in Soccer Riot
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS [Egypt] [MENA] [Middle East] [MENA] [charges that Egypt under President Morsi is rather like Egypt under Mubarak?] [Egypt continues to struggle with what its future holds?] [protests against Morsi’s govt have occurred regularly since the anniversary of the revolution (Feb 2011)] [as Morsi’s govt continues to look impotent in the face of rising discontent, Egypt’s considerable security—sounds like both interior and defense?—demonstrated to signal unease inside the govt (I would think the military is the specific one that worries folks)] [use psci 350, 355-455, use PSCI 494 for those doing MENA revolutions] [Egyptian court affirms sentences in soccer riot in north (death sentences)] [followup, Mar 8] [*]
CAIRO — An Egyptian court on Saturday confirmed death sentences against 21 people for their role in a deadly 2012 soccer riot that killed more than 70 people in the city of Port Said.
The court also sentenced Port Said’s former security chief, Maj. Gen. Essam Samak, to 15 years in prison. General Samak was the most senior of nine security officials tried for their part in the riot. Another police official, a colonel, was also sentenced to 15 years. Seven others were acquitted, a decision that led enraged protesters to burn the soccer federation headquarters and a police club in Cairo in protest.
Judge Sobhi Abdel-Maguid, who read the verdict at a Cairo courthouse, sentenced five more defendants to life in prison and eight others — besides General Samak and the police colonel — to 15 years. Six defendants received 10-year terms, two more got five years and a single defendant received a 12-month sentence. A total of 28 people were acquitted.
The trial has been the source of some of the worst unrest in recent weeks to hit Egypt, which is already grappling with mass political protests and a crumbling economy. After the 21 people — most of them fans of Port Said’s Al-Masry club — were first sentenced to death on Jan. 28, riots erupted in the city that left some 40 people dead, most of them shot by the police.
Shortly after the death sentences were announced, protesters who were apparently fans of Cairo’s Al-Ahly club, went on a rampage, burning a police club nearby and storming Egypt’s soccer federation headquarters before setting it ablaze. The twin fires sent plumes of thick black smoke billowing out over the Cairo skyline. [*]
Many residents of Port Said, which is on the Mediterranean at the northern tip of the Suez Canal, have seen the trial as unjust and politicized, and soccer fans have felt that the authorities were biased in favor of Al-Ahly, Egypt’s most powerful club.
The bloodshed unleashed by the verdict in January had many in Egypt bracing for the possibility of more violence after Saturday’s sentencing, although Port Said and Cairo were calm immediately after the verdict, which was broadcast live on television.
The February 2012 riot followed a league match between Al-Masry and Al-Ahly, with Port Said supporters setting upon the visiting fans after the final whistle. The deadly melee is Egypt’s worst soccer disaster.
In Port Said, a city that has for weeks been in open rebellion against the government of President Mohamed Morsi, several hundred people, many of them relatives of the defendants, gathered outside government offices to vent their anger. [*]
Port Said has been the center of the heaviest violence in the latest wave of unrest, which began on Jan. 25, when hundreds of thousands across the country observed the second anniversary of the start of the uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak’s government two years ago.
Cairo, the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, and several cities in the Nile Delta north of the capital have all been swept up in the unrest as well.

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