21 death sentences in Egypt football trial

An Egyptian court on Saturday sentenced 21 people to death over football clashes that killed 74 people last year, as relatives of the deceased erupted into cries of joy in the courtroom.

State television said that just minutes after the court verdict, relatives of the defendants tried to storm the prison where they were being held.

The court has now handed the verdict to the country's top cleric for his final opinion. Executions in Egypt must be authorised by the Grand Mufti.

In February 2012, clashes in the canal city of Port Said between fans of home side Al-Masry and Cairo's Al-Ahly left over 70 people dead and sparked days of violent protests in Cairo, in which another 16 people were killed.

Many believe the rioting was orchestrated either by the police or by Mubarak supporters.

Hard core fans of Al-Ahly known as the Ultras, who played a key role in the uprising, have already taken to the streets to demand severe punishment for those responsible for the stadium deaths under the slogan "justice or chaos."

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Writer: AFP
Position: News agency