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Egypt court upholds football riot death sentences

Egypt court upholds football riot death sentencesCairo, March 9 : Egypt's court confirmed Saturday the death sentences handed down to 21 Port Said football fans for their role in a stadium riot last year, amid continuing tensions over the verdict, media reported.

Five people have been sentenced to life and another 10, including two police officers, were given 15 years in jail.

Another 28 defendants, including seven police officers, have been acquitted, Ahram Online reported.

Before the final court ruling, authorities tightened security in the Suez Canal city of Port Said and in Cairo.

State television reports said football fans blocked Sadat Metro station, located in Tahrir Square, but the blockade ended quickly and the metro is now functioning normally again.

In late January, the court sentenced all 21 defendants to death in a trial that is part of the so-called "Port Said tragedy", a high-profile case of Egypt's worst-ever football fan clash and stampede that left at least 74 people dead and another 300 injured last February.

The death verdicts triggered violence in Port Said, which lasted for more than a month. The violent protests left dozens dead and hundreds wounded. (IANS)