21 Get Death Sentences Over Egypt Soccer Riot

Verdict leads to yet more violence, with another 27 dead

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Jan 26, 2013 7:57 AM CST

(Newser) – An Egyptian court sentenced 21 people to death today on charges related to one of the world's deadliest incidents of soccer violence. The verdict touched off an attempted jailbreak and a riot that killed 27 in the Mediterranean port city that is home to most of the defendants. Immediately after the verdict, two police were shot dead outside Port Said's main prison when angry relatives tried to storm the facility to free the defendants. Police fired tear gas, rubber bullets, and live rounds, security officials said. Hundreds were wounded.

Another 52 defendants will be sentenced in March, including nine security officials. Die-hard soccer fans from both teams hold the police at least partially responsible for last year's Port Said deaths—74 people were killed—and criticize Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi for doing little to reform the force. The violence began after Port Said's home team, called al-Masry, won the match. Fans stormed the field when the game ended, attacking Cairo's al-Ahly fans.

Families of the victims react in court with joy after the verdict.   (Ahmed Abd El-Latef)
Egyptian soccer fans of the al-Ahly club celebrate in Cairo Saturday.   (Amr Nabil)
A relative of one of the victims reacts to the verdict.   (Ahmed Abd El-Latef)
Family and supporters of those accused of soccer violence from the Port Said soccer club react to the verdict.   (AP Photo/Mohammed Nouhan, Shorouk Newspaper)
Families and supporters of those accused of soccer violence from the Port Said soccer club react to the verdict.   (AP Photo/Mohammed Nouhan, Shorouk Newspaper)
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