Court sen­tences 75 pro­test­ers to death

Austin American-Statesman Sunday - - AUSTIN ECONOMY - Mohamed Ezz

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.

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