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Jan 26, 2013

Egypt death sentences spark fatal riots

The sentencing of 21 people to death for their role in last year's Port Said Stadium disaster has led to further tragedy after at least 22 people were killed and 250 injured in riots protesting the decision in the Egyptian city.

• Carlisle: Bradley's Port Said frustration
• Moonda: Dark day for Africa

The football world was left stunned last February when 74 people were killed in violent scenes that saw supporters of Al Masry invade the pitch and attack Al-Ahly fans and players after a league match between the two clubs, causing a stampede and leading to many being crushed to death.

A year on from the incident, Judge Sobhi Abdel-Maguid condemned 21 people to death for their role in the violence - a decision that was broadcast on television and cheered in Cairo by the families of the victims and Al-Ahly supporters.

However, the verdict was met with riots in Port Said, with the Egyptian army deployed to deal with angry Al-Masry fans, who were fired upon by local police with tear gas and rubber bullets.

The latest clashes in Port Said have brought further tragedy, with at least 22 people already killed and 250 injured.

Egypt's 2012 football league season was cancelled after last February's disaster, and Saturday's outbreak of violence comes just a week before the 2013 campaign had been scheduled to start behind closed doors.

Another 52 defendants will discover their fate in March, with all death sentences required to be confirmed by Egypt's senior religious authority, the Grand Mufti.

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