News / Middle East

Kerry, Fahmy Discuss Mass Egyptian Death Sentences

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy at the State Department in Washington, April 29, 2014.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy at the State Department in Washington, April 29, 2014.
Ken Bredemeier
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Egyptian counterpart, Nabil Fahmy, met in Washington Tuesday.  They discussed an Egyptian court's decision Monday to sentence 683 supporters of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood to death for their role in protests last year against the overthrow of former president Mohamed Morsi.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon voiced his alarm over the death sentences handed down by the Egyptian court.  Amnesty International said the Egyptian judiciary risked becoming what it described as "just another part of the authorities' repressive machinery."

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, as he headed into a meeting with Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy, said Egypt is clearly going through a "very difficult transitional process" in the weeks leading up to next month's presidential election.  The top American diplomat said Egypt's constitution is "a positive step forward," but called the mass death sentences a disturbing development.

"But even as these positive steps have been taken, we all know there have been disturbing decisions within the judicial process.  The court system does have very serious challenges for all of us," said Kerry.

It is the second time a court in Minya, Egypt has handed down mass death sentences after very short judicial hearings, although most of the 529 sentences imposed in March have been commuted to life imprisonment.

Egypt's foreign minister said the country's courts are independent of the government, but "part of what Egypt is all about."

"I can't comment on the content of the decisions themselves, but I am confident that due process is allowed and that when due process is allowed, and that the legal system will ultimately end up with the proper decision in each of these cases.  We will build a democracy based on the rule of law," said Fahmy.

One Middle Eastern affairs analyst, Robert Hazan of Metropolitan State University of Denver, said he is skeptical of the prospects for fairness.  He called the sentences "a serious breach of basic fundamentals, principles of a reasonable judiciary process."

"We don't understand the rationale. We don't understand whether these are reasonable judgments," said Hazan.

The U.S. is considering further aid to Cairo; but, Hazan said that while the U.S. can condemn the sentences occurring inside one of its staunchest allies in the Middle East, it cannot let anything happen "that would push Egypt into anarchy and chaos."

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

America's Most Exotic Presidential Pets

From alligators to bears, the White House has been home to some unusual presidential pets over the years More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: chukwuemeka ukorl from: lagos nigeria
April 30, 2014 3:22 AM
I said whatever the terms of the judgement they will not be sentence to death enmass. Just give them prison sentences preferable life sentences instead of execution.no one should go against my order.

by: ali baba from: new york
April 29, 2014 6:33 PM
The judge give sentence based on evidence. Muslim brotherhood committed a crime. they believe that they are above the law. during morsi they were acting as a bully. they burn churches. the kill police office. I did not find any reason that Kerry intervene with that matter. the justice has to be served

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs