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Egypt’s trials and death sentences condemned

By Konye Obaji Ori
Posted on Wednesday, 26 March 2014 14:01

The Brotherhood was banned from the political processes, and now its supporters and members are facing murder charges and the death penalty.

According to reports, the Brotherhood was the most organised and powerful political arm in Egypt post the revolution that ousted Hosni Mubarak.

Yesterday was … a death sentence for the credibility and independence of Egypt’s criminal justice system

The group was relegated to the status of a terrorist’s organisation after former President Mohammed Morsi of the Brotherhood was ousted from office.

Morsi’s ousting drew thousands of supporters and the Brotherhood members to the streets. But, the military-backed government violently cleared up the streets by crushing protests.

On Monday more than 500 supporters of Morsi and the Brotherhood were sentenced to death.

On Tuesday, 682 others went on trial on charges including murder.

“Yesterday was … a death sentence for the credibility and independence of Egypt’s criminal justice system,” Nicholas Piachaud of Amnesty International told reporters

“There is little hope of the 683 people indicted in this latest trial of receiving fair proceedings before the same judge who yesterday handed down death sentences so readily.”

The mass trials and death sentences are the biggest in Egypt’s modern history.

Observers say this might be a strategic attempt to stifle any future role of the Brotherhood in Egypt’s political direction.

With its leadership sentenced and its supporters facing the death penalty, little opposition is expected during and after the presidential elections which may see army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi run and win.

Foreign governments and rights groups have since condemned the trials and death sentences.

The United Nations human rights office said Monday’s mass death sentences contravened international law and the ruling was also criticised by the European Union and the United States.

“We’re coming out (to protest) today because the judiciary has become a tool in the hands of the military and the authorities,” Reuters quoted an Egyptian student Mohamed Ashraf, as saying.

More protests are expected on Wednesday in strategic sites such as the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque and the Tahrir Square, where symbolic marches and revolts have been staged.

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