Egypt: Crackdown brings most arrests in decades

An Egyptian court ruled a massive sentence Monday 24 March, declaring 529 Muslim Brotherhood members were to be sentenced to death. The ruling convicted all of them guilty of murder and other offenses in participation of a deadly event during the summer’s unrest after Morsi’s ouster.

Family members stood outside the courthouse screaming after the verdict – the biggest mass death sentence handed out in Egypt’s modern history, defence lawyers said.

Only sixteen of the entire group of 545 allegedly involved were found to be innocent. The trial was called for last summer’s “attacking a police station, the killing of one policeman, the attempted murder of two others, firing and seizing weapons from the police station.” It has to be understood that this ruling is not final and will be sent to Minya Criminal Court for the final verdict.

Backlash against the verdict came about in Egypt.

The Muslim Brotherhood described Monday’s decision as “shocking and unprecedented,” adding that the trial was “without due process” and “is inhumane and a clear violation of all norms of humane and legal justice.” The group said it would “take all legal actions to appeal the court ruling and defend basic rights of Egyptians.”

Human Rights Watch also condemned Monday’s decision. The international watchdog’s Executive Director for MENA Sarah Leah Whitson said the “sentence comes as the result of a judicial process that denied defendants the most basic due process rights.”

 

Abdul Hamid, a defense lawyer, says it was “unconstitutional and illegal.” Another defense lawyer involved in the case stated, “This is unprecedented; I have worked as a lawyer for 25 years. I have never seen a case that concludes after three days.”

Headlines

Shots fired at Israeli troops near Egypt border — Alexandria University students protest jailing of colleagues — Policeman shot dead in Egypt’s Sinai — Egypt activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah was released on bail Sunday

The Presidency says it “cannot” revise the controversial elections law. The office states it is because the country has to continue down its timeline of a political roadmap.

Administrative security use police dogs to disperse student protesters at Zagazig University; reports also say they found and defused two IEDs on the Cairo University campus before the rallies began.

There were a total of 1,044 protests in Egypt this last February, the Democracy Meter reports.

Egypt’s crackdown on Islamists brought 16,000 arrests, the most arrests in decades.

To watch

Suez residents lambast postal worker strike; union leader says 70% of postal workers striking nationwide.

Doctors Syndicate members are to launch a mass resignation campaign until their demands are met. Since January, they’ve called for better working conditions and greater opportunity for doctors such as promotion and training.

Egypt investors believe military chief Sisi presidency will bring stability to the country.

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