Saturday, March 9, 2013

Riots in Cairo and Pot Said after new verdict in football stampede case

Port Said
The Port Said Criminal Court in action on 9 March. For security reasons it held its session in Cairo. (Reuters).

Riots broke out in Cairo and Port Said on Saturday  after a Port Said Criminal Court handed down a verdict on Saturday in last year's football stampede that killed more than 70 people. In Cairo one man died of tear gas inhalation and angry supporters of the football club Ahly set fire to the building of the Egyptian Football Association (EPA) and the Police Club. 
 The court upheld the 21 death sentences that had been handed down on 26 January. Furthermore five defendants received life sentences, two policemen, former Port Said security director Essam Samak and the head of the Port Said water bodies security department, Mohamed Saad, both received 15 years. Eight others got 15 years, six people received 10 year sentences, two got five years and one got a one year sentence. Twenty eight defendants were acquitted, among them seven other police officers. They include the former head of Port Said police investigation department, Mostafa Razaz, former head of the Central Security Forces in the Suez Canal area, Abdel-Aziz Sami, and former head of Port Said national security directorate, Bahy El-Din Zaghloul.
The acquittal of seven police officers and the confirmation of the earlier death aroused anger. Immediately after the sentences were handed down,angry Ahlawy Ultras Ahlawy started attacking the EFA and the Gezira Police Club. According to a top official at the Egyptian Football Association (EFA), all the original trophies won by Egypt in various football competitions were stolen. After that the Ultras set fire the EFA's building in Gezira. The building was damaged and all records of the EFA got lost.
Lateron during further clashes in Cairo a 36-yaer old man died in hospital of respiratory problems after an overdose of tear gas.
In Port Said protesters stopped ferries from Port Said to Port Fouad. Reuters reported that they also untied moored speedboats used to supply shipping on the Suez Canal. Egypt's navy reinforced its presence throughout the Suez Canal after the protests.

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