U.S., Amnesty Int’l air concern over mass death sentence in Egypt

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The State Department and human rights group Amnesty International (AI) raised concern over the sentencing to death of 529 supporters of Egypt’s deposed president Mohamed Morsi on Monday.

The two-day review of evidence and testimony against the 529 defendants accused of killing a policeman and other violence in August could not possibly be fair and consistent with international standards, said a State Department official. The official called on the Egyptian government to ensure fair trial for the accused.

AI described the sentence handed by the Minya Criminal Court in one hearing as an injustice and should be quashed.

“Imposing death sentences of this magnitude in a single case makes Egypt surpass most other countries’ use of capital punishment in a year,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Programme Director at AI. “”Egypt’s courts are quick to punish Mohamed Morsi’s supporters but ignore gross human rights violations by the security forces.”

AI also called on the Egyptian authorities to stop and ban executions.

The 529 defendants were involved in clashes with police in the southern province of Minya in reaction to the violent dispersal of two Muslim Brotherhood protest camps in Cairo on Aug.14. They were charged with violence, inciting murder, storming a police station, attacking persons and damaging public and private property.

Sixteen other defendants in the case were acquitted.

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