Court sentences 75 protesters to death
CAIRO — An Egyptian court Saturday sentenced 75 people to death, including leaders of the outlawed Muslim Broth- erhood, for their involvement in a 2013 sit-in protest in Cairo that spiraled into violence and resulted in the death of hundreds of demonstrators by security forces.
Cairo Criminal Court was considering the case of 739 people facing charges rang- ing from killing police offi- cers, incitement to violence and damaging prop- erty during the 2013 vio- lence in Rabaa al-Adawiya, a square in Cairo. Forty-seven people, including the spir- itual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohammed Badie, were sentenced to life in prison. The mass trial has been widely condemned by human rights organizations, with Amnesty International calling it a “grotesque par- ody of justice.” Mahmoud Abou Zeid, a photojournalist known as Shawkan who was detained for photographing the anti-government protests, was in prison. sentenced Because to five he years has been held since his arrest, time served will be counted toward his sentence and he is to be released. He faces five more years of proba- tion, however.
Taher Abu Nasr, Abou Zeid’s lawyer, said he was dissatisfied with the sentence but acknowledged that it “was expected.” He said he planned to file an appeal.
The August 2013 sit-in was staged by supporters of Mohammed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president, who had been ousted weeks earlier by the military under the command of Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, the defense minister. Clashes and gunfire broke out, and at least 817 people were killed when security forces broke up the protests.
El-Sissi was sworn in as president less than a year later.
“These sentences were handed down in a disgraceful mass trial of more than 700 people, and we condemn today’s verdict in the strongest terms,” Amnesty International said Saturday, after the court’s decision.
“That not a single police officer has been brought to account for the killing of at least 900 people in the Rabaa and Nahda protests shows what a mockery of justice this trial was,” it added, referring to Rabaa al-Adawiya and another Cairo square.