Accessibility links

Breaking News

Egyptian Court Upholds Death Sentence for 20 in 2013 Police Station Attack

FILE - Islamist defendants stand behind bars in the case known as the "Kerdasa massacre'', that referred 188 people to court over an attack that killed 14 policemen in 2013, in Cairo June 23, 2014.

An Egyptian court has upheld death sentences against 20 people in the brutal 2013 attack on a police station in the Giza suburb of Kardasa. The attack, which came during a frenzy of violence following the ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, killed close to a dozen police officers and cited in the government's case for the use of force to quell a budding popular insurrection.

An Egyptian court has issued a final ruling, upholding death sentences against 20 participants in a brutal 2013 attack on a police checkpoint in the Cairo suburb of Kardasa in which 15 people, including 11 officers, were killed. The sentence was read out by the court at a Cairo police academy following approval by the country's highest religious authority.

The attack on the police facility in Kardasa, not far from Egypt's grand pyramids, caught media attention in the immediate aftermath of the ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, bolstering the government's argument in putting down scattered violence, which appeared to be turning into an armed uprising.

Hundreds of police recruits and military officers were killed in the violence that followed Morsi's ouster. Hundreds of Morsi supporters were also killed in the bloody dispersals of two sit-in camps and other scattered violence that followed.

A video broadcast by Egyptian media shows prominent Qatar-based Egyptian cleric Sheikh Youssef Qaradawi issuing a fatwah or religious edict in 2013 calling for the killing of Egyptian police officers and military forces. Qaradawi has denied issuing such a fatwah.

Qatar is currently locked in a feud with its Gulf neighbors and Egypt over Qatar's alleged support of the Muslim Brotherhood and an assortment of regional terrorist groups, including Hamas, Libya's Ansar al-Shariah, Syria's Jabhat al-Nusra and the Janjaweed militia in Sudan, among others.

Veteran Egyptian editor and publisher Hisham Kassem tells VOA that most ordinary Egyptians are more concerned with their immediate day-to-day struggle to put food on the table and clothe themselves than with court cases, such as the one Sunday in which death sentences were upheld in the Kardasa attack. But he notes, Egypt has seen an unusually large number of death sentences.

"When it comes to the number of death sentences that have been handed out in the past three years, they are very high, unprecedented in the history of Egypt," said Kassem.

Kassem points out that many death sentences have not yet been carried out, and opponents of the government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, including the Muslim Brotherhood, "are looking for means to resort to international legal bodies or rights organizations to use such sentences against [Sissi]."