Egyptian foreign minister responds to criticism of mass trials

Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy met Tuesday with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington. The two officials planned to discuss Egypt's transition toward democracy. Prior to their meeting, Fahmy fielded some criticism regarding Egypt's justice system holding mass trials and issuing mass death sentences.
By JC Finley   |   April 29, 2014 at 5:08 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, April 29 (UPI) -- Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy responded Tuesday to U.S. criticism regarding the recent mass trials and sentencing of Muslim Brotherhood members, by emphasizing that the judiciary is a work in process.

"I'm confident that due process is allowed... and that the legal system will ultimately end up with proper decisions in each of these cases," Fahmy said in response to a comment from U.S. Secretary of State at a joint press conference in Washington.

Prior to their bilateral meeting, Kerry had remarked on Egypt's "disturbing decisions within the judicial process -- the court system -- that have raised serious challenges for all of us."

A day earlier, Kerry's spokesperson called the continuation of mass trials in Egypt and issuance of death sentences en masse "unconscionable."

Standing alongside Kerry, the Egyptian foreign minister emphasized that the challenges faced by the Egyptian judicial system "are completely independent from government" but acknowledged "they're part of what Egypt is all about."

Both officials agreed that Egypt is in a period of transition.

Fahmy offered a pledge "not to you here in Washington, but to my own people..."

"... we will build a democracy based on the rule of law, and the rule of law means applying laws that are consistent with the constitution through a legal system that’s independent and credible to us all -- most of all, to the Egyptian people."

On Monday, an Egyptian judge presiding over a mass trial in Minya recommended the death penalty for 683 people, including a Muslim Brotherhood leader.

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