World Bulletin / News Desk
A major anti-coup bloc in Egypt has slammed a ruling by a criminal court in the Upper Egyptian province of Minya sentencing 529 supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi to death for committing acts of violence.
Magdi Qurqur, a senior member of the National Alliance for the Defense of Legitimacy, Morsi's main support bloc, told Anadolu Agency that the rulings were "politicized, and reveal the political intervention in the judiciary."
"The ruling was the result of pressure by the current authorities and targets the boiling protests on the Egyptian streets," he said.
He also criticized judges for their "appalling" verdict, calling on them not to be "tools in the hands of oppressors and the unjust." Qurqur also called on Egypt's grand mufti not to endorse the rulings.
A Minya-based source with the bloc said the ruling was "shocking and unexpected."
"The streets in Minya will boil, especially as not all these sentences were [handed down against] Brotherhood members; some of them even took part in the protests that led to Morsi's ouster," the source added.
Eyewitnesses said clashes erupted between security forces manning the court and angry relatives of the defendants following the delivery of the verdict. Some relatives were also arrested.
Tariq Fouda, head of the Minya Bar Association, told AA that the hearing was held in the absence of both defendants and their lawyers.
A lawyer for Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, who asked not the named for security reasons, also denounced the rulings as "invalid."
"The judge lost his legal authority to hear the case after defense lawyers demanded his recusal," he said.
"Lawyers also filed a complaint against him, which should restrain him from taking any action in the case," he added.
Egypt's anti-coup National Alliance for the Defense of Legitimacy on Monday called on followers to stage Wednesday protests in downtown Cairo's Tahrir Square, Rabaa al-Adawiya Square in eastern Cairo and Al-Nahda Square in Giza province.
It, however, did not ask followers to stage sit-ins in these squares following the protests.
The alliance, the main support bloc for ousted president Mohamed Morsi, had earlier called for launching a "new revolutionary wave" against the interim authorities.
It called on followers to stage continual protests from March 19 until the end of the month with the aim of raising awareness about hundreds of people killed in violence across Egypt in recent months and thousands of others – including university and school students – who have been put in jail.
"Let Wednesday be a remarkable revolutionary day," the alliance said in a Monday statement. "Masses of people should head to squares across Egypt."
The alliance, however, said the issue of whether to stage sit-ins in the aforementioned squares would be up to the demonstrators themselves.
Egyptian authorities do not allow Morsi's supporters to stage protests in Tahrir Square, an iconic center of the 2011 revolution against ex-president Hosni Mubarak.
Rabaa and Nahda squares have joined Tahrir Square as no-go areas for supporters of the ousted president since last August, when the authorities forcibly dispersed two anti-coup sit-ins, killing hundreds of them.Last Mod: 24 Mart 2014, 17:41