News / Middle East

    Egypt Sentences 529 Morsi Supporters to Death

    Elizabeth Arrott
    In what is being called the biggest capital punishment verdict by Egypt's judiciary, 529 supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi have been sentenced to death.

    The condemned were convicted of killing a policeman, attacking others and destroying property.
     
    The sentencing, believed to be the biggest mass death dentencing in history, came after just two court sessions and before the defendants lawyers say they were permitted to make their case.

    The majority was condemned in absentia, with fewer than 200 of those on trial in court, 16 suspects were acquitted.

    An appeal is permitted, and given the rushed circumstances of the trial, human rights and legal experts believe the verdict is unlikely to stand.

    Even members of the government-linked National Council for Human Rights condemned the verdict. Member Nasser Amin wrote on Twitter the court ruling “will be overturned as soon as the defendants demand a retrial.”

    Other legal rights advocates described it as a “disaster” and a “scandal.”

    Minya, Egypt.Minya, Egypt.
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    Minya, Egypt.
    Minya, Egypt.
    Many of those on trial were arrested during fighting in the southern province of Minya, where the trial was held, after security forces dispersed Muslim Brotherhood protest camps last August in Cairo.

    Hundreds, possibly more, died in the crackdown, most of them supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected leader. 

    Thousands of Morsi supporters have been jailed since.

    Caught up in the crackdown are several journalists, including Australian journalist Peter Greste, Egyptian-Canadian Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian Baher Mohamed, of the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera network. 

    They are on trial in a Cairo court charged with aiding what the government considers the "terrorist" Muslim Brotherhood.  

    The defendants deny the charges, saying they were simply reporting the news.

    Greste's brother Mike Greste was at the court where the trial continued Monday.

    "We do not believe the prosecution will be able to present any evidence to substantiate the charges and more importantly, I am hoping another court date is set down sooner rather than later," he said.

    The men were arrested late last year in a case that has attracted denunciations from media rights groups and others around the world.

    Monday’s court proceedings come as Egyptian officials say the campaign for a permanent replacement for Morsi, himself on trial in several other court cases, will begin in the coming days.
     
    Egyptian officials have put strong restrictions on media coverage, leaving Egyptian news dominated by praise of the military-backed government, in particular Defense Minister and widely assumed future presidential candidate General Abdel Fattah el-Sissi.

    Anger over Morsi’s one year in power remains high among many Egyptians, who blame him and his Brotherhood supporters for their often violent exclusion from Egypt’s political process and attempting to impose a narrowly-based Islamist rule.

    “The Brotherhood decided to step out of the process you know; it is they who should be asked to be inclusive,” said political commentator Hisham Kassem.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Cecilia from: USA
    March 24, 2014 7:47 PM
    This should show the world what kind of sick, brutal dictatorship that is now running Egypt. Combine this with Egypt’s attempt to get weapons from the dictatorship in Russia, it clearly shows that this dictatorship has no intention of establishing a democracy for the suffering people of Egypt. America needs to make a decision to spend taxpayer dollars wisely. If we continue to support these military tyrants, it will be a mockery of what the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights stand for. We can do better than this.
    In Response

    by: Natalee from: USA
    March 24, 2014 9:02 PM
    relax "Cecilia"... (probably a bloated Egyptian scumbag) you sound like a Muslim Brotherhood thug... Egypt is fighting the most pernicious terrorist organization in the Middle East... Muslim Brotherhood is Al Qaida, and it is Hamas. Muslime Brotherhood have killed innocent Americans and Israelis and supported the Hamas rockets of civilians in Israel. we should be standing shoulder to shoulder with the Egyptian Government in their valiant fight against these terrorist organizations... I really hope you are not in the US... because if you are here its only a matter of time before you strap suicide vest on your children to blow them up in one of our Malls... despicable Arab

    by: Anonymous
    March 24, 2014 3:06 PM
    Forcing death on 500+ people is a crime and an atrocity in itself. Not saying they did not commit crimes (if they did)... Not good at all.

    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    March 24, 2014 12:59 PM
    I think Egypt is moving in the right direction, though the culprit should be the man ordering the killings rather than the messengers. Morsi should face the music. The country should not just outlaw the Muslim Brotherhood, it should ensure that anything done on behalf of the organization attracts stiff penalties. This means it should be criminal to mention the name of the evil organization in Egypt henceforth. The judgement should not stop at condemning the guilty, it should include compensation for families that lost their loved ones during the trouble. That way the wounds inflicted during the scuffle will be permanently healed.

    by: meanbill from: USA
    March 24, 2014 11:36 AM
    The Muslim Brotherhood never had a military wing .. (BUT?) .. they do now, and it's growing all through the Islamic world...Pharaoh Mubarak is gone, and general el-Sissi isn't Pharaoh, and Egypt is lost..
    In Response

    by: Kamil P. from: USA
    March 24, 2014 3:03 PM
    I hope you are not one of those Egyptians brought into the US on mercy asylum program... bringing more of the like of you into the US will spell the end of the US...
    The Muslim Brotherhood is al Qaeda, it is Hamas... it is a virulent metastatic cancer that must be eradicated - great kudos to the Egyptian Government - I just hope that the US Government would have been so decisive and resolute in the fight against terrorist organizations.

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