Egypt’s court of cassation has ordered the retrial of 62 people who have already faced court in connection with Egypt’s worst football disaster, some of whom had been given death sentences.
Seventy-two al-Ahly supporters were killed when, during a February 2012 match between the al-Ahly and al-Masri clubs in the city of Port Said, Almasri fans, some of them armed with knives and bottles, stormed the pitch.
Many spectators were crushed when panicked crowds tried to escape from the stadium after the pitch invasion.
Last year, 21 people were sentenced to death and 24 to lengthy prison sentences over the incident. Twenty-eight other defendants, including seven security officials, were acquitted.
The ‘Ultras’ of al-Ahly, a group of fervent and politically-engaged fans, then organised massive protests demanding justice for the dead and those demonstrations sometimes turned violent.
The orginal sentences were welcomed by al-Ahly fans, though they rejected the release of the security officials and the verdicts led to riots and clashes with police in Port Said, in which more people died.
The families of those convicted and many al-Masri fans had said the verdicts were too harsh. They were upheld by an appeals court last year.