News / Middle East

    Egypt Adjourns Second Mass Trial of Brotherhood Members

    In Egypt, Another Day, Another Triali
    X
    Elizabeth Arrott
    March 25, 2014 4:57 PM
    A leader of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood went on trial Tuesday, a day after the mass death sentences for more than 500 Brotherhood supporters shocked legal and rights groups around the world. VOA’s Elizabeth Arrott has more from Cairo.
    Related video report by VOA's Elizabeth Arrott
    VOA News
    The leader of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and nearly 700 members of the group went on trial Tuesday on charges including murder and inciting violence.

    The trial of Mohamed Badie, the Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual guide during his arrest last year, and the others comes a day after the same court in Minya sentenced 529 Brotherhood members to death.  They had been charged with murdering a police officer, attacking a police station and other acts of violence.

    The trial of Badie and the others was adjourned until April 28, when judgment and sentencing is expected, a lawyer said.

    Defense lawyers boycotted Tuesday's session of the trial to protest the mass death sentences issued Monday by the same court in the city of Minya.

    “We believe the trial's fairness, which is a right enshrined in the criminal code, was absent in this case, and therefore we take this stand, not in favor of any party. We are all aware and in agreement about the crimes committed by the Muslim Brotherhood," lawyer Tarek Fouda, head of Minya's Lawyer's Syndicate said. "However, we must defend the rule of law in Egypt and ensure justice for all.”

    That first trial took just two days, drawing international criticism over whether the proceedings were fair. It also unleashed condemnation locally, even from anti-Brotherhood members of Egypt’s judiciary.

    Local reaction

    In Cairo, where support remains strong for the crackdown against supporters of ousted president and Brotherhood figure Mohamed Morsi, many were pleased with the decision.

    “This is good because it is the first time we see our judges act so quickly, because this was the second session," said Amir, a Cairo resident.

    But such swift action against Morsi supporters - compared to the dragged out cases of pre-revolutionary officials - left others angry.

    “So why hasn’t [former president Hosni] Mubarak been given the death penalty? Cairo resident Hassan Eissa asked.  "Why hasn’t [former interior minister] el-Adly been given the death penalty?"

    With the mass trials and harsh sentences handed down to Morsi supporters being called the “revenge” of Egypt’s military-backed leaders, worries of a greater backlash grow.

    International criticism

    In Geneva Tuesday, a U.N. official said the mass trial could not have met the most basic requirements for a fair proceeding.  Rupert Coville, a spokesman for the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, criticized the proceeding as "rife with procedural irregularities" and "in breach of international human rights law."   

    Saba Mahmoud, associate professor of anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley, told VOA on Tuesday that there is no due process in Egypt, and called the sentencing "ridiculous."

    "You can take even perhaps elements from that crowd who may have broken the law and so on, but to actually sentence close to 530 people, 529 to be precise, nowhere can be defended legally," she said. "Most of the people who have been arrested are being tried in military courts and security courts under the emergency law in the country. They’re not being given a fair trial."

    State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said the United States was "deeply concerned" and "pretty shocked" after Monday's decision.

    "Obviously the defendants can appeal, but it simply does not seem possible that a fair review of evidence and testimony, consistent with international standards, could be accomplished with over 529 defendants in a two-day trial.  It sort of defies logic."

    She said the U.S. has continued to urge Egypt to make sure detainees are given fair proceedings, and that politically motivated judicial actions only serve to reverse Egypt's democratic transition.

    Mahmoud told VOA the Egyptian military's violations of civil liberties have not pushed the U.S. government to say such behavior must stop or else it will withdraw aid.

    “I think the State Department reaction throughout this process has been completely muted. We must remember that Egypt is the second largest recipient of U.S. military and socioeconomic aid after Israel in the region," she said. "And the United States has an enormous influence in how Egyptian politics is conducted. Ever since the overthrow of the Morsi government, the writing has been on the wall."

    Back story

    The charges in the two trials are related to clashes in Minya last August.  That violence erupted after security forces in Cairo broke up two Brotherhood protest camps, leaving hundreds of people dead.

    They were protesting the army's ouster of president Mohamed Morsi, a Brotherhood member who has been in custody since he was removed from office in July and is facing several trials himself.

    Egypt's interim authorities have cracked down on the Brotherhood, labeling it a terrorist group and arresting many of its leaders.

    Elizabeth Arrott contributed to this report from Cairo

    You May Like

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.