Egypt Unrest : 529 Sentenced To Death As 700 More Await Faith-An Egyptian Judge on Monday sentenced 529 people to death in an unprecedented single court decision in the country and by Tuesday night, the number of those sentenced may jump to well over 1000. it is an historical largest capital punishment case ever handed on an opposition movement in Egypt as supporters of the ousted democratically elected Mohammed Morsi got the death sentence handed to them by a judge. They were charged with incited killings and sabotage.
Among the charges was that the supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi killed a single police officer, attempted to murder two other officers, and attacking a police station in the Nile Valley city of Minya in August. The trial saw 17 others acquitted.
Mohammed Morsi, the deposed democratically elected president and leader of the the Brotherhood movement himself with more of his 700 faithfuls accused of similar crime of disturbing the peace commenced is facing trial on Tuesday in a clandestine move to silence him and subdue his supporter with humiliation and planned extermination
Lawyers said they would demand the judge step down after he handed down the unprecedented death sentences on Monday in a court in the southern province of Minya after only two hearings.
Legal experts said the unprecedented sentences are likely to be overturned on appeal.
The rushed sentencings sparked an international outcry and sent a chill through opponents of the military-installed regime, which has placed more than 2,000 alleged Islamists on mass trials since the army overthrew Morsi in July. almsot 20000 more were arrested during the protest.
It was unclear what other evidences prosecutors presented to support Monday’s ruling. The trials were only held in two court sessions.
A defense attorney in the case said that the defense was never given access to the evidence and that none of the defendants — or their attorneys — were allowed in court as verdict was delivered.
When defense attorneys objected to court procedures during the first hearing on Saturday, security personnel threatened members of the defense team to silence them, said one of the lawyers, Ahmed Shabeeb.
“This whole process is a sham,” he said.
Shabeeb said that the defense would appeal and that the sentences still need the approval of the country’s top religious authority before the executions could take place.
Under longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted in 2011, political prisoners could spend years on death row before sometimes being acquitted.
The sentence has sparked international anger as many across the world rubbished what they called a wish-washed justice.
“This is injustice writ large and these death sentences must be quashed. Imposing death sentences of this magnitude in a single case makes Egypt surpass most other countries’ use of capital punishment in a year,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International.
“This is the largest single batch of simultaneous death sentences we’ve seen in recent years, not just in Egypt but anywhere in the world.
“Egypt’s courts are quick to punish Mohamed Morsi’s supporters but ignore gross human rights violations by the security forces.
While thousands of Morsi’s supporters languish in jail, there has not been an adequate investigation into the deaths of hundreds of protesters. Just one police officer is facing a prison sentence, for the deaths of 37 detainees.
“Without an independent and impartial process that can deliver truth and justice for all, many will question whether Egypt’s criminal justice system has indeed anything to do with justice. In any event, recourse to the death penalty is inherently unjust, and the Egyptian authorities should impose a moratorium on executions, with a view to abolishing it.”
Egypt’s authorities do not release figures on death sentences and executions, despite repeated requests over the years by Amnesty International.
The organization knows that Egyptian courts handed down at least 109 death sentences in 2013, after at least 91 death sentences in 2012, and at least 123 in 2011. The last known execution was carried out in October 2011, when one man was hanged for the killing of six Coptic Christians and a Muslim police guard in a drive-by shooting in January 2010.
Only last week, there were reports of five supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi were arrested on 25 February 2014 on Egypt’s border with Sudan. They are now being tried by a military court. They have reportedly been tortured and otherwise ill-treated in custody.