07 May 2014
An Egyptian court has sentenced 12 militant soccer fans to five years in prison in an expansion of the military-backed regime’s crackdown on its Islamist and non-Islamists opponents that could ultimately re-position soccer as a major platform of protest.
The fans, members of Ultras Ahlawy, the well-organized and street battled-hardened militant support group of storied Cairo club Al Ahli SC that played a key role in the popular uprising three years ago that toppled President Hosni Mubarak and subsequent anti-military protests, were sentenced in absentia for organizing an illegal gathering and vandalism.
The convicted were accused of blocking a Cairo road to protest the arrest of Ultras Ahlawy members who clashed with police last October as they attempted to storm Cairo airport’s international terminal.
… James M. Dorsey is a Senior Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University. He is also co-director of the University of Würzburg’s Institute for Fan Culture, and the author of The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer blog and a forthcoming book with the same title.
RSIS / Online
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