Egypt detains 4 soccer fans over riot charges

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Cairo, March 12 (IANS) The Egyptian prosecution ordered on Sunday a 15-day detention of four soccer fans charged with inciting riots during a recent match in the capital Cairo, media reports said.

The four defendants from “Ultras Ahlawy”, a group of supporters of Egypt’s number one Al-Ahly soccer team, have also been accused of inciting violence and vandalism during Al-Ahly’s match with Gabon’s Monana in the African Champions League earlier in March, Xinhua reported.

Some of Al-Ahly fanatic fans reportedly launched fireworks, broke some of the stadium’s seats and chanted anti-police statements during the match.

Soccer matches have been played without fans in Egyptian stadiums since tragic riots following a local match in costal Port Said city killed 72 of Al-Ahly fans in February 2012.

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Only some matches including foreign teams are allowed with a limited number of spectators in Egypt’s stadiums.

In January, the prosecution also detained five of Ultras Ahlawy pending investigation over having a Facebook page that urges protests to mark the anniversary of Port Said deadly clashes.

In June 2017, an Egyptian court sentenced eight of Al-Ahly fans to two years in prison over charges of inciting riots and holding illegal protests to mark the fifth anniversary of Port Said deadly clashes.

Earlier in February last year, Egypt’s top Court of Cassation declined an appeal and confirmed death sentences for 10 defendants over murder-related charges in the 2012 soccer riot tragedy.

In the same case, another 10 defendants were sentenced to 15 years in prison, 10 to 15 years, 15 to five years and one to one year, while 21 defendants were acquitted.

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