Fans rampage in Cairo after soccer riot verdict; Egypt FA and police station torched
CAIRO (AP) - An Egyptian court on Saturday confirmed the death sentences against 21 people for taking part in a deadly soccer riot but acquitted seven police officials for their alleged role in the violence. Suspected fans enraged by the verdict torched the soccer federation headquarters and a police club in Cairo in protest.
The trial over the melee that killed 74 people after a soccer game in the city of Port Said in early 2012 has been the source of some of the worst unrest in recent weeks to hit Egypt. After the 21 people - most of them fans of Port Said's Al-Masry club - were first sentenced to death on Jan. 28, violent riots erupted in the city that left some 40 people dead, most of them shot by police.
On Saturday, the court announced its verdict for the other 52 defendants in the case, and sentenced 45 of them to prison terms, including two senior police officers who received 15 years. Twenty-eight people were acquitted, including seven police officials.
As expected, the court's decision failed to defuse tensions over the case, which has taken on political undercurrents at a time when the entire nation is mired in political turmoil, a worsening economy and burgeoning opposition to the rule of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.