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Egyptian Court Upholds Death Sentences in Football Riot

An Egyptian man reacts as he watches a televised court verdict confirming death sentences against 21 people for their role in a deadly 2012 soccer riot, in a coffee shop in Port Said, Egypt, Mar. 9, 2013.
An Egyptian court has upheld death the sentences of 21 people for their role in a football (soccer) riot last year that killed more than 70 people.

The court also issued life sentences Saturday to five defendants. Lesser prison terms were handed down to nearly 20 other people.

Two former Port Said police officers were sentenced to 15 years in prison. Another 28 people were acquitted.

The stadium riot in Port Said erupted at the end of a match between Cairo's Al-Ahly club and Port Said's Al-Masry team.

In Cairo, hundreds of suspected Al-Ahly fans celebrated Saturday's verdict before setting fire to a police club and Egypt's Football Federation headquarters. The fires sent plumes of black smoke billowing over the Cairo skyline.

The announcement more than a month ago of the 21 death sentences sparked deadly clashes between relatives of those sentenced and police guarding the prison where the convicted were held. Those clashes killed more than 30 people.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.