Africa 30.7.2018 12:21 pm

Egypt to put 75 people to death for demonstrating

Egyptian Brotherhood's Mohamed Badie is currently serving a life sentence in prison. Picture: AFP Photo.

Egyptian Brotherhood's Mohamed Badie is currently serving a life sentence in prison. Picture: AFP Photo.

Defendants in the case include prominent members of the Muslim Brotherhood, who were arrested and tried for participating in a protest against the removal of the former Egyptian president.

On Saturday, 75 people were sentenced to death by an Egyptian court for participating in a 2013 demonstration in support of deposed former president Mohamed Morsi, state-run news agency Ahram Online has reported.

The cases have been referred to the Grand Mufti – the country’s highest official of religious law – for a final decision, according to the publication. According to Egyptian law, before death sentences are carried out, a religious opinion on the matter must be issued by the Grand Mufti. His opinion is rarely ignored despite being officially nonbinding.

Defendants in the case include prominent members of the Muslim Brotherhood, who were arrested and tried for participating in a sit-in in Cairo to protest the removal of Morsi – the country’s first democratically elected leader and a former member of the brotherhood.

Egyptian ex-President Mohamed Morsi. Picture: AFP Photo.

Protests surrounding Morsi’s removal culminated in mass violence when current President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s security forces used automatic weapons, armoured personnel carriers and military bulldozers to deal with demonstrators.
A 2014 report by Human Rights Watch found at least 817 people were killed in the violence.
The Muslim Brotherhood has since been banned by the government for being a “terrorist organisation“.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. Picture: AFP Photo.

Ahram Online reported the 75 defendants sentenced to death on Saturday were accused of “attacking citizens, resisting authorities, destroying public property and buildings, and possessing firearms and Molotov cocktails”.
“These 75 are among 739 people in total who will be prosecuted for their participation in the protests,” according to the report.

Amnesty International noted in a tweet that while demonstrators faced the death sentence, “no members of the security forces have been held responsible for the violent dispersal of the Rabaa protest”.

A final verdict on the death sentences will be heard on September 8, after which defendants have the right to appeal.
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