2014: Mass death sentences in turmoil-ridden Egypt

Egyptian courts this year meted out preliminary death sentences to over a thousand supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi

2014: Mass death sentences in turmoil-ridden Egypt
World Bulletin / News Desk
 
Egyptian courts this year meted out preliminary death sentences to over a thousand supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi who had been accused of violence, setting a controversial record that has drawn international criticism.

In six different trials for violence-related charges, Egyptian judges referred the cases of 1,434 supporters of Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood group to the country's top religious leader for a non-binding review of death sentences issued against them in a procedural move that normally precedes the carrying out of a death penalty.

The courts upheld 249 of the death sentences, all of which remain subject to appeal.

In a two-phase trial this spring, a court in southern Egypt's Minya province handed down preliminary death sentences on Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie and 1,120 other defendants charged with killing a single policeman and attacking police stations following Morsi's ouster by the army in July of last year.

The court decision drew criticism from the UN and several international human rights organizations.

While Egypt's current government normally declines to comment on court verdicts, New York-based Human Rights Watch described the trial as a "blatant and fundamental violation of the right to a fair trial guaranteed by the Egyptian constitution and international law."

Badie, who was detained following Morsi's ouster, now faces three life sentences from separate trials, two of which saw him sentenced to death in preliminary rulings.

Badie was slapped with his second preliminary death sentence in June when he and 13 others were convicted of "attempting to carry out terrorist acts, commit murder and incite violence" during deadly clashes in the Giza province in the summer of last year.

Earlier this month, an Egyptian court issued preliminary death sentences for an additional 188 Morsi supporters for their alleged involvement in the death of 11 policemen after a police station was stormed in Giza's town of Kerdasa in August of last year.

Trial proceedings have since been postponed to January 24, 2015.

The Kerdasa attack came shortly after security forces violently dispersed two major sit-ins staged by Morsi supporters in Cairo, during which hundreds of protesters were killed.

Moreover, two alleged Morsi supporters were sentenced to death in March for killing an anti-Morsi activist in the coastal city of Alexandria last year.

The court later upheld the sentence against one defendant while giving the second a life sentence.

Since Morsi's ouster last year, Egypt's military-backed government has waged a relentless crackdown on political dissent – largely targeting Morsi supporters – which has seen hundreds killed and thousands detained.

Last year, Egyptian authorities designated Morsi's decades-old Brotherhood group a "terrorist" organization, blaming it for a spate of deadly attacks on security officials in the country.

The Brotherhood, for its part, denies the allegations, saying it is committed to peaceful activism.

 

Last Mod: 30 Aralık 2014, 17:59
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