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Nearly 700 Sentenced To Death In Egypt

An Egyptian Court has sentenced nearly 700 people associated with ousted former President Mohammed Morsi  to death:

MINYA, Egypt — A judge in Egypt on Monday sentenced to death 683 alleged supporters of the country’s ousted Islamist president, including the Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual leader, the latest in mass trials that have drawn international condemnation and stunned rights groups.

The same judge also upheld the death penalty for 37 of 529 defendants sentenced in a similar case in March, though he commuted the rest of the sentences to life imprisonment.

Still, the 37 death sentences — which can be appealed in a higher court — remain an extraordinarily high number for Egypt, compared to the dramatic trial in the wake of the 1981 assassination of President Anwar Sadat, when only five people were sentenced to death and executed.

Among those convicted and sentenced to death on Monday was Mohamed Badie, the Brotherhood’s spiritual guide. If his sentence is confirmed, it would make him the most senior Brotherhood figure sentenced to death since one of the group’s leading ideologues, Sayed Qutb, was sentenced and executed in 1966.

In announcing the 683 death sentences for violence and the killing of policemen, Judge Said Youssef on Monday also said he was referring his ruling to the Grand Mufti, the nation’s top Islamic official — a requirement under Egyptian law, but one that is considered a formality. It does, however, give a window of opportunity for a judge to reverse an initial sentence.

Both Monday’s and the March trial are linked to deadly riots that erupted in Minya and elsewhere in Egypt after security forces violently disbanded sit-ins held by Brotherhood supporters in Cairo last August. Three policemen and a civilian were killed in those riots.

The odds that there were any concerns for civil liberties during the course of this proceeding is, of course, exceedingly low.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Matt Bernius says:

    The same judge also upheld the death penalty for 37 of 529 defendants sentenced in a similar case in March, though he commuted the rest of the sentences to life imprisonment.

    Given that the judge commuted almost all of the last round of death sentences, I have to wonder how much of this is for “show” and whether or not the same thing will happen again.

    Still, even if the commutations happen, it means that between those two trials over 1000 people will be sentenced to life in prison due to their political affiliations.

    I am having a hard time seeing how the results of the coup were any better than the government it replaced.

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  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Will anyone on the American right stand up and denounce these actions? Nahhh, they would much rather have Osama bin Laden proven right.

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  3. @Matt Bernius:

    I am having a hard time seeing how the results of the coup were any better than the government it replaced.

    Indeed, for all the hand wringing about how the MB was the new Taliban, Morsi didn’t actually do anything particularly radical while in office.

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  4. Pinky says:

    “…commuted the rest of the sentences to life imprisonment.”

    (Sigh.) Lib judges.

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  5. Barry says:

    @Matt Bernius: “I am having a hard time seeing how the results of the coup were any better than the government it replaced. ”

    There were two things happening – a popular revolt which removed the previous government, and then a military coup in reaction (basically restoring the old regime).

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