CAIRO - A Cairo appeals court on Saturday cancelled a prison sentence against a police officer convicted in connection with the deaths of 39 people last year during political violence, judicial sources said.

In one of the most controversial incidents since the army ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi last July, 39 men described by the Interior Ministry as Islamists, Muslim Brotherhood members and their supporters died during what the ministry said was an attempted prison break.

But the prosecutor's office later said its investigations showed they died while being transported to jail in an overcrowded police van into which tear gas was fired.

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