Advertisement

Court to seek death sentences for 75 over Cairo protest

By
Sommer Brokaw
Seventy-five people received preliminary death sentences Saturday on charges related to the August 2013 protest shown in Rabaa Square in Egypt's capital, Cairo. File photo by Ahmed Asad/UPI
Seventy-five people received preliminary death sentences Saturday on charges related to the August 2013 protest shown in Rabaa Square in Egypt's capital, Cairo. File photo by Ahmed Asad/UPI | License Photo

July 28 (UPI) -- An Egyptian court issued preliminary death sentences on Saturday to 75 people in a case tied to a 2013 protest against a democratically elected president's ouster.

Among those sentenced are senior members of Muslim Brotherhood organization, including the former Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood Mohamed Badie as well other prominent Brotherhood members Essam El-Erian, Mohamed Beltagy and Wagdy Ghoneim, Ahram Online reported.

Advertisement

Egypt's military-backed government declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization in December 2013 after a deadly car bombing it blamed on the Brotherhood.

The court is seeking approval of Egypt's chief Islamic authority, the Grand Mufti, required by Egyptian penal code, before any execution takes place.

RELATED Egyptian natural gas prospects improving

Mufti's opinion is non-binding, but usually is not ignored.

Four years ago, Mufti rejected a death sentence for Mohamed Badie, a leader of the Muslim brotherhood, who was part of the same case and has been sentenced to life in prison instead.

The final verdict for all 739 defendants alleged involvement in the protest is set for Sept. 8.

RELATED 12 injured in explosion near Cairo airport

Charges that defendants are facing include premeditated murder, attacking citizens, resisting authorities, destroying public property, and possessing firearms and Molotov cocktails, the Arabic news website for Egypt's daily newspaper reported.

Advertisement

The case stems from a August 2013 sit-in demonstration at Rabaa Square in Cairo against the ouster of democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi in July. The leader of the coup, which led to Morsi's overthrow, General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, became the country's president in 2014.

Sisi was re-elected in March of this year.

RELATED New discovery highlights Egypt's potential as emerging oil producer

The 2013 sit-in was violently broken up leading to outrage from international human rights groups.

"The crackdown, widely dubbed the 'Rabaa massacre', saw more than 900 mostly-unarmed protesters killed by members of the Egyptian security forces," Amnesty International UK said in a statement. "No member of the Egyptian security forces has been held to account."

Furthermore, a representative of the human rights organization called the trial "grossly unfair" and a 'parody of justice."

"The idea that more than 700 people could all stand trial together in one day, all facing the death penalty in what is clearly a grossly unfair trial that violates Egypt's own constitution, beggars belief," Amnesty International Director of Campaigns in North Africa Najia Bounaim said.

"This can only be described as a parody of justice; it casts a dark shadow over the integrity of Egypt's entire system of justice and makes a mockery of due process."

Advertisement

Latest Headlines