News / Middle East

Egypt Court Jails 155 Brotherhood Supporters

Riot police fire tear gas towards supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood during a demonstration at Cairo University, Egypt, May 20, 2014.
Riot police fire tear gas towards supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood during a demonstration at Cairo University, Egypt, May 20, 2014.
Reuters
An Egyptian court sentenced 155 Muslim Brotherhood supporters to jail terms on Wednesday and gave 54 of them life sentences, judicial sources said, in a case related to violence in the Nile Delta province of Mansour last August after the army's ouster of democratically-elected President Mohamed Morsi.
 
Other defendants were sentenced to between three to 10 years in jail. The charges included instigating violence and chaos and membership in a banned group. Police fired tear gas at demonstrators outside the courthouse who were chanting against the verdict.
 
Egyptian men walk past a campaign billboard of Egyptian ex-army chief and leading presidential candidate Abdel Fattah el-Sissi on a pedestrian bridge in Fayyum, some 100 kilometres south of Cairo, May 20, 2014.Egyptian men walk past a campaign billboard of Egyptian ex-army chief and leading presidential candidate Abdel Fattah el-Sissi on a pedestrian bridge in Fayyum, some 100 kilometres south of Cairo, May 20, 2014.
x
Egyptian men walk past a campaign billboard of Egyptian ex-army chief and leading presidential candidate Abdel Fattah el-Sissi on a pedestrian bridge in Fayyum, some 100 kilometres south of Cairo, May 20, 2014.
Egyptian men walk past a campaign billboard of Egyptian ex-army chief and leading presidential candidate Abdel Fattah el-Sissi on a pedestrian bridge in Fayyum, some 100 kilometres south of Cairo, May 20, 2014.
Meanwhile, relatives of Egyptians sentenced to death in recent mass trials are urging former army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, who toppled Morsi, days before an election he is expected to win, to save their loved ones as proof of his commitment to justice.
 
In April, a judge in the southern governorate of Minya condemned to death the leader of Islamist organization the Muslim Brotherhood and 682 supporters in connection with the killing of a policeman after the briefest of trials.
 
The punishment shocked the mother of defendant Yasser Atallah. She was also baffled. She said her son, like other Christians, was deeply distrustful of the Muslim Brotherhood, and backed the army takeover that removed it from power last year.
 
"He is Christian. We have no relationship with these things," Yasser's mother, who asked not to be named, told Reuters.
 
Egypt's Western allies and human rights groups who condemned the trials will be watching closely to see if Sissi, who ousted the country's first freely elected president, Morsi of the Brotherhood-linked Freedom and Justice Party, after huge protests against his rule, will promote democracy and the rule of law as promised.
 
The government says it respects the independence of the judiciary and denies accusations that it influences court decisions.
 
Though some government officials have complained in private about the mass death sentences, Sissi is expected to say he cannot interfere with the judiciary.
 
The judge in the mass trials cases, Saeed Youssef, has a reputation for draconian sentencing. In 2013, he sentenced a man to 30 years in jail for stealing clothes from a shop and possessing a knife, judicial sources say.
 
On the same day Attallah learned his fate, judge Youssef affirmed death sentences on 37 others in a separate case.
 
The rulings were part of a final judgment on 529 Muslim Brotherhood supporters condemned for killing a senior police officer in the town of Matai near Minya.
 
The violence in Minya came shortly after security forces stormed a pro-Morsi protect camp in Cairo and killed hundreds of people last August.
 
Almost all police stations were attacked in Minya governorate. Many churches were targeted, too, in response to Christians' backing of Morsi's ouster.
 
The biggest mass trials in Egypt's modern history reinforced fears that the authorities were again using all levers of power to crush dissent, three years after hopes of greater freedom flourished with the toppling of autocrat Hosni Mubarak, who had ruled Egypt for 30 years and kept a tight rein on opponents including the Brotherhood.
 
Even lawyers at risk
 
Even defending Islamists can be risky. Lawyer Ahmed Eid was representing more than 65 defendants in the Matai case, when his wife said he suddenly found himself in jail on charges of attacking a police station. He faces a life sentence.
 
His wife, Maha Sayed, said the father of two had disagreed with the ouster of Morsi, arguing the Islamist leader should have been given longer for the sake of democracy.
 
"I will not go and vote," she said. "The government and the country did not give me my rights. My rights have been violated. My husband is detained wrongfully."
 
She said she is now waiting for the election of a president to right that wrong. "He will, surely, have a role in appealing the judiciary to be just. If my husband had not been jailed, I would have voted for Sissi."
 
Others, like Ahmed Zaghloul, whose son Hatem, 17, was sentenced to death along with 36 others, have less faith that Sissi will help, even though he says there are procedural irregularities in his son's case. Hatem should have been tried in juvenile court under Egyptian law, but was not.
 
Sissi says Egyptians have concluded the Brotherhood has no place in society.
 
"I fear that Sissi could issue decrees against these people or something," said Morsi supporter  Zaghloul, a 55 year-old employee of a state electricity company.
 
Egypt says the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists are a threat to its security, and the security forces have imprisoned thousands of them.
 
That in turn has fuelled attacks by Islamist militants that have killed hundreds of police and soldiers.
 
While many hope the election will begin the long process of returning Egypt to stability after years of turmoil, others fear an enduring legacy of division.
 
Omar Ahmed, the partially sighted father of Abdullah Omar Ahmed, who is on the run after being accused of a link to the killing of a policeman when he was 17, dismisses the election as a farce.
 
"I will not vote for anybody. I feel none of them will help me, and it is just a play being acted out. I have hope only in God. Whoever wins, the important thing is to declare my son innocent," said Ahmed, a Morsi supporter.
 
"My convictions are that I should never vote for Sissi because he wronged me."

You May Like

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid