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Egyptian court sentences 14 for football stadium stampede

Emergency services extinguish fires in Cairo [Price Mistake‏/Twitter]

An Egyptian court has sentenced 14 people over violence at a football stadium in Cairo in 2015.

Two people were sentenced to life in prison and 12 were handed between two and 10 years in prison over the deadly football stadium stampede in which 19 people died when police fired tear gas at fans as they tried to make their way into the Cairo football stadium.

Their sentences can be appealed.

The match between Cairo teams Zamalek and ENPPI was one of the first football games that the public had been allowed to attend following a ban that was imposed after 70 people were killed and 1,000 were injured in the stadium riots in Port Said in 2012.

The police – who reportedly encouraged the violence at the Port Said stadium – turned off the lights which created confusion among the crowds. People were crushed as crowds pushed against a locked gate to try and get out of the stadium.

The ban has now been reinstated.

Read more: Egypt adds 300 people to terrorism watch list

Those sentenced in the Zamalek-ENPPI case face charges that included vandalism and murder after they were accused of challenging the police and causing the stampede.

Egypt’s football fans, known as Ultras, have been involved in a number of confrontations with police during political unrest in the country and prosecutions following the Port Said stampede were believed to be politically motivated.

Ultras Ahlawy members played a central role in the 2011 revolution and protected Tahrir Square from during the battle of the camel when Hosni Mubarak sent camels and horses into the crowds of protesters.

In 2013, following a crackdown on opposition forces after a military coup ousted democratically-elected president Mohammed Morsi, the prosecution accused the Muslim Brotherhood of financing Zamalek supporters called Ultras White Knights to “spread chaos and suspend [football] activity”.

No senior members of the police or the army have been charged in connection with the football stampedes.

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