[JURIST] An Egyptian court has referred 11 men accused of being involved in deadly 2012 soccer riots to the most senior religious official, the final step before imposing a death sentence. The Grand Mufti is scheduled to give his final decision [Reuters report] on May 30. The riots, which occurred in Port Said, killed more than 70 and injured about 1,000 others crushed by crowds attempting to leave the stadium when fans of Al-Masry violently stormed the stands and attacked Al-Ahly fans after Al-Masry won the soccer match. Seventy-three people have been accused [Sputnik report] of involvement in the riots.
In January 2013 an Egyptian court sentenced [JURIST report] 21 people who were found guilty of involvement in the Port Said soccer stadium disaster to the death penalty. Protesters angry over the verdict later rioted, leading to the deaths of at least 30 people. Then-president Mohamed Morsi declared [JURIST report] a state of emergency later that week in an attempt to quell the protests. A Cairo court affirmed [JURIST report] the death sentences of the 21 individuals in March 2013, and the court handed down verdicts for the remaining 52 defendants also charged in the incident. It is widely believed that police were responsible for causing the riot, during which police reportedly retreated from the crowd and cut electricity to the stadium, leaving many fans to be crushed against locked doors in the darkness. The High Court ordered a retrial for the 21 death sentences a year later.