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1987: Liverpool fans to stand trial in Belgium

Twenty-five English football fans involved in the Heysel stadium disaster have been extradited to Belgium.

Thirty-nine people died in the tragedy before the 1985 European Cup Final between Juventus and Liverpool.

The English club supporters may be charged with manslaughter for their charge towards Juventus fans which led to a wall collapsing onto the panicked Italians as they tried to escape.

Their trial is expected to start in the new year - if convicted they face a maximum sentence of 15 years.

Britain's biggest mass-extradition began at 1025 BST when two large vans transported the prisoners from Wormwood Scrubs in London to an RAF base in Oxfordshire.

They were flown to Belgium in a military aircraft and driven immediately to the law courts in central Brussels, where they were questioned and formally remanded by magistrates.

One man remains in the UK awaiting trial for a separate offence.

'Red animals'

The extradition warrants were signed on 9 September 1986, but a year of argument from lawyers representing the accused men has held up the proceedings.

They fear it will be impossible for the English fans to receive a fair trial in a country where they have been vilified by the press.

Today a Belgian newspaper said the men had let down their club, their city and their country in an article with the headline: "Welcome in Belgium red Animals".

In Context
Fourteen of the extradited fans were found guilty of voluntary manslaughter after a five-month trial.

Seven men were given three-year prison terms and the remainder received three-year suspended sentences.


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