World Bulletin/News Desk
An Egyptian court sentenced Mohamed Badie, the Brotherhood's general guide, and the other defendants to death on June 19. It also referred the verdict to the Mufti, the state's highest Islamic legal official, whose opinion must be sought before any execution can take place.
However, judicial sources said on Thursday that a final verdict in the case had been postponed until Aug. 30, to allow the Mufti to reconsider his original report into the case.
The Mufti's office had no immediate comment on the issue. The Mufti's reports are not normally made public.
"The Mufti said that, in his opinion, the court relied solely in the case on investigations that were not alone enough to condemn the defendants," Judge Mohamed Naji Shehata told Reuters.
In a move unprecedented in the history of Egyptian law, the court asked the Mufti to reconsider and adjourned the hearing, in which it was due to either uphold or strike down the original sentence, until Aug. 30.
"The Mufti did not give a religious opinion but interfered in the court's domain by evaluating the evidence of the case," the judge said.
Proposed death sentences against more than a thousand of these have triggered outrage among Western governments and human rights groups, who have condemned the hurried way in which the courts have reached such serious verdicts. No execution has yet been carried out, and hundreds are awaiting the Mufti's opinion.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who as army chief overthrew Mursi, said in the run-up to his election in May that the Brotherhood - Egypt's oldest and best organised political group - was finished and would cease to exist under his rule.
Judge Mohamed Nagi Shehata, who is leading the proceedings, also presided over the controversial trial that saw three Al Jazeera journalists jailed for seven to 10 years. But one of his assisting judges, Ihab al-Manufi, had already refused to sign the original death sentence issued in June, signalling that, even within the judiciary, there is disquiet over the trials.
Ibrahim Negm, a senior adviser to the Grand Mufti, said that Islamic law required the religious authorities to review all the evidence in a case and that, if asked to examine the case again, they would again look at all the evidence.
"Religious authorities are always encouraged to abide by the well-established principle that even slight doubts may give reason to cancel the stipulated penalties," he said in emailed comments.
Badie had already received a confirmed death sentence in a separate case along with 182 supporters in a case which triggered outrage among Western governments and rights groups. The Brotherhood was ousted from power by the army last year.Last Mod: 18 Ağustos 2014, 23:42