Egypt Sentences 11 to Death Over Riot Between Al-Masry and Al-Ahli Fans

CAIRO - Eleven men were sentenced to death on Tuesday for their part in a violent riot at an Egyptian soccer stadium which killed more than 70 fans and injured at least 1,000.

Many of the dead were crushed when panicked fans tried to escape from the Port Said stadium after a post-match pitch invasion by supporters of local team Al-Masry in 2012.

The court sentenced one of the men to death in absentia. Ten men got 15 years in jail, 14 were sentenced to 10 years, and 15 men received a five-year sentence. Twenty-one people were found innocent. The verdicts can be appealed.

Image: Egypt court sentences 11 to death over 2012 soccer riots
Egyptian soccer fans clash as security forces stand on the pitch at the stadium of Port Said, Egypt. The Feb. 1, 2012, riots left 74 dead after clashes between fans of Port Said's al-Masry team and visiting Cairo team al-Ahly. STRINGER / EPA

Yasser Sayed Ahmed, a lawyer for the family of one of the victims, hailed the ruling as "extremely fair and satisfactory."

Soccer matches are often a flashpoint for violence in Egypt. The teams in the Port Said incident — Al-Masry and Cairo's Al-Ahli — are longtime rivals. Witnesses said the rioting broke out after Cairo fans unfurled banners insulting the local team, which had won the match 3-1.