Seventy five to stand trial in Egypt over soccer deaths

By REUTERS
March 15, 2012 18:06

CAIRO - Prosecutors ordered 75 people to stand trial for causing Egypt's worst soccer stadium disaster, including the head of security in Port Said city where lax policing was blamed for a stampede that killed at least 74 fans.

"The accused were sent to a criminal court on charges of committing the crime of intentional and premeditated murder," the general prosecutor's office said in a statement on Thursday.

The crush followed a pitch invasion when Port Said-based al-Masry beat Cairo's Al Ahli, the most successful club in Africa.

Steel doors at the stadium were bolted shut, trapping fans trying to escape from the stands and dozens were crushed to death, witnesses said.

Many fans blamed the government for a failure to send enough police to the stadium given the tense build-up to the match, and many believe the violence was sparked by hired thugs. At least 1,000 people were injured.

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