The criminal proceedings involving 51 people implicated in the 2012 Port Said Stadium violence came to a close on Monday when the Court of Cassation, the highest court in the Egyptian common court system, confirmed 10 death sentences and 41 lengthy prison terms.
The 51 defendants were initially convicted on charges ranging from premeditated murder and attempted murder to thuggery and theft.
The death sentences stem from a June 2015 ruling in the retrial of those implicated in the 2012 event and included an 11th defendant who was convicted in absentia. It is unclear whether the additional defendant was included in Monday’s ruling.
The Court of Cassation upheld the 41 prison terms initially issued in the retrial but also modified some of the terms and lengths of the convictions.
The violence that broke out on February 1, 2012 between supporters of Ahly SC and Masry SC at the end of a match at Port Said Stadium between the two teams is the country’s deadliest football-related incident, having claimed the lives of over 70 people, most of whom were fans of the visiting Ahly SC, and injured hundreds of others.
Other Ahly fans died after falling from bleachers or being trampled in a stampede of people rushing to toward the stadium’s locked exit gates.
Ahly fans have accused security forces of negligence and being complicit in the incident by having stoked violence to target Ultras Ahlawy, a group that had played a significant role in the January 25 revolution. However, only two of nine police officers originally charged in the case were convicted, with each receiving a five-year prison sentence, including the chief of Port Said Police Station.
Early this month, police forces arrested 117 Ahly fans and Ultras Ahlawy, whom they had accused of attempting to protest on the fifth anniversary of the Port Said Stadium violence. Most of those detained were subsequently released within 48 hours. Although, at least five have had their detentions extended and face charges of instigating protests and affiliation to an outlawed group.
In a separate incident, at least 19 fans of Zamalek SC and the affiliated Ultras White Knights were killed on February 8, 2015 in a stampede prompted by police forces firing teargas at a crowd of fans attempting to purchase tickets at the Air Force Stadium in Cairo.
The Ultras White Knights were also at the forefront of the 2011 uprising against the regime of former President Hosni Mubarak.
In May 2015, the Cairo Court for Urgent Matters ruled that all Ultras groups were terrorist organizations and banned their activities nationwide.