Court / Presiding Judge
First Review: Port Said Criminal Court/Judge Sobhi Abdel Meguid
Second Review: Port Said Criminal Court/Judge Muhammad al-Said
Retrial (for those sentenced earlier in absentia): Port Said Criminal Court/Judge Muhammad al-Sherbiny
Final Review: Court of Cassation/Judge Reda al-Qadi
On March 9, 2013, the court issued its verdict upon first review. On June 9, 2015, upon second review, the court issued its verdict. On August 23, 2015, the court issued its verdict for those initially sentenced in absentia. On February 20, 2017, the Court of Cassation confirmed the prior sentences.
Upon first review, the court sentenced 21 defendants to death, five to life imprisonment, 10 to 15 years in prison, six to 10 years in prison, and two to five years in prison. The remaining 28 defendants were acquitted. Upon second review, the court sentenced 11 defendants to death, 10 to life imprisonment, 10 to 10 years in prison, 12 to five years in prison, and one to a year in prison. The remaining 20 defendants were acquitted. Upon retrial for those sentenced in absentia, one defendant was sentenced to 10 years and the remaining five were acquitted. Upon final review of the sentences of 51 defendants, the death sentences of 10 and the prison sentences of 41 were confirmed (though some of the terms and lengths of the prison sentences were modified).
Summary of Reasoning
This case dates back to clashes that broke out between Ultras Ahlawy and the Green Eagles during a soccer game in February 2012. The clashes resulted in the death of 72 Ultras Ahlawy members. Police forces were criticized for failing to prevent the violence. The charges facing the defendants included murder and possession of weapons. The court’s investigations revealed that at least some of the defendants attacked the victims using knives and stones, threw some of them from the stands, and packed them into a small exit path while firing fireworks at them with deadly intent.
The initial list of defendants included nine high-ranking police officers from the Port Said Security Directorate. Only two of these officers ultimately received sentences.
Legal & Judicial Implications
Although extensive allegations against security forces were made in the Port Said case and eyewitnesses claim that security forces stood to the side and watched as clashes ensued, the majority of defendants tried and sentenced in the case were civilian. The failure of the court system to hold security officials accountable for the security void that facilitated the death of the Ultras Ahlawy fans raises serious questions on the ability of the judiciary to hold government actors accountable.