Egypt conforms death sentence to183 against police killing 

Egypt

Feb 3, Cairo: An Egyptian court on Monday confirmed death sentences against 183 men convicted of killing 11 policemen and two civilians in August 2013. The policemen and civilians were killed in an attack on a police station in Kerdasa, a town on the outskirts of Cairo.

“Today’s death sentences are yet another example of how bias the Egyptian criminal justice system is,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui of Amnesty International. “These verdicts and sentences must be quashed and all of those convicted should be given a trial that meets international standards of fairness and excludes the death penalty.”

“Issuing mass death sentences whenever the case involves the killing of police officers now appears to be near-routine policy, regardless of facts and with no attempt to establish individual responsibility,” Sahraoui added.

According to him, 415 people have been sentenced to death in four trials for the killing of police officers, while the case against former President Hosni Mubarak, involving the killing of hundreds of protesters during the uprising, has been dropped. “To date no security officer has been held to account for the killing of 1,000 protesters in August 2013,” the organization said on its website,”he said.

Thirty-four of the 183 defendants were tried in absentia. All are permitted to appeal.

Monday’s verdict, which can be appealed, came after the initial sentences were sent to the grand mufti, the government’s official interpreter of Islamic law, for ratification. As the army deposed Morsi on July 3, 2013, at least 1,400 people have been killed during protests, most of whom happened to be Islamists supporting the ousted leader. While, hundreds of supporters have been sentenced to death after swift mass trials.

EU’s foreign service in a statement on Monday, said that the Egyptian court’s decision to sentence 183 defendants to death following a mass trial violates Egypt’s international human rights obligations.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that the United states was “deeply concerned” by the decision. He said it was simply seems impossible that a fair review of evidence and testimony could be achieved through mass trials.

Rights group Amnesty International said the decision was “outrageous” and “an example of the bias of the Egyptian criminal justice system”.

Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui of Amnesty International said issuing mass death sentences whenever the case involves the killing of police officers now appears to be near-routine policy, regardless of facts and with no attempt to establish individual responsibility.

Rights groups and critics of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the former army chief who ousted Morsi, said that the authorities are using the judiciary system to repress any form of dissent, including from secular activists.

Meanwhile,Morsi and several top leaders of his blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood are in custody and facing several trials on charges punishable by death.

 

 The Oslo Times

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