Monday, April 28, 2014
Court in Minya (Upper Egypt) hands out another record of 683 death sentences
Execution Services ltd. in Minya?
The criminal court in the Egyptian city of Minya (Upper Egypt) on Monday handed 683 death sentences to people who had been charged of being supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Islamist group's Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie was among them. The defendants were found guilty of attacking Adawa police station and killing a police officer, Mamdouh Qotb Mohamed Qotb, on 14 August 2013 -- following the dispersal of pro-Morsi sit-ins at the Rabaa and Nahda squares in Cairo which left more than 1.000 people dead.
They were also found guilty of committing violence, rioting, attacking public and private property and police officers, and inciting violence. The verdicts have to be ratified by the grand mufti of Al-Azhar -- the highest Islamic authority in the country -- before they can be carried out. The date of 21 June has been set for the final verdict to be passed, after the grand mufti has made his assessment.
The same court last month handed out 529 death warrants. On Monday it decided that 37 of these have become definitive, while the others were been changed to life sentences. The earlier verdict had been met with harsh criticism that the judge did not follow the normal procedures by not even taking the trouble to go over the individual details of all 529.
Earlier on Sunday the same court in Minya handed out prison sentences ranging from five to 45 years in jail to 37 alleged supporters of president Morsi, who had been charged with attacks on police stations last August. And on Saturday, the same judge convicted 11 defendants charged with raiding a Minya police station to 57 to 88 years in prison.
According to a report issued by the National Council for Human Rights, the dispersal of the pro-Morsi camp was followed by nationwide violence that reached 22 Egyptian governorates, with attacks on police stations and churches that left 686 dead, including 64 security forces personnel.