75 to stand trial in Egypt over soccer deaths

Head of security in Port Said city also on trial, as lax policing blamed for the stampede that killed at least 74 fans.

By REUTERS
March 15, 2012 17:53
2 minute read.
Fans flee as chaos erupts at Egypt soccer match

Egypt Soccer Violence 390 4. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

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.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


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.

Thousands of Ahli supporters met at the club's ground on Thursday and marched through Cairo to protest what they regarded as official foot-dragging over the disaster. Some wore black t-shirts reading "We wont forget the 74."

Mothers of fans who died in Port Said walked at the front of the crowd, weeping as they held portraits of their sons. Young men shouted "It's all fabricated! This is how they do it!"

JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:


Banging drums and waving Ahli flags bearing the club's black eagle mascot, they marched to Cairo's high court where they posted a banner over its door that read "Can't stop Ultras" -- a name given to Egyptian soccer fans.

"I am here because my world has collapsed and my heart died with the death of my son, my only son. I have no one but him and I have to secure his rights," said Samah, one of the protesters who was carrying a big picture of her son Karim Ahmed.

"We want the top people... those who are continuing to corrupt Egypt. We have not got them yet," she said.

Ultras took a front-line role in public protests that led to the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, and in subsequent protests against the army generals who took power when Mubarak fell.

Some ordinary Egyptians, media commentators and analysts said the Port Said violence was allowed to happen by the authorities as revenge against the Ultras.

A parliamentary inquiry blamed both fans and poor policing, and the Port Said head of security, Essam Samak, was fired.

State television said nine of the 75 people to stand trial were police officers. Two were minors who would be tried in a juvenile court.

The Port Said deaths sparked days of clashes between young men and riot police near the Interior Ministry in Cairo in which 16 more people were killed.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Russian Air Force Ilyushin Il-20M
September 18, 2018
What does Russia’s condemnation of the Syria strike mean for Israel?

By SETH J. FRANTZMAN