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Egypt maintains death penalty for 12 members of Muslim Brotherhood Human Rights News:


Egypt’s Supreme Civil Court on Monday upheld the death sentences of 12 members of the Muslim Brotherhood, according to court sources, ending the 2013 sit-in by security forces.

The decision, which cannot be appealed, means that 12 men could be executed until approved by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. These include Abdul Rahman Al-Bari, commonly described as the group’s mufti or top religious scholar, Mohamed El-Beltagin, a former lawmaker, and Osama Yassin, a former minister.

Many members of the Muslim Brotherhood have been sentenced to death in other riots since the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi in 2013, but the Court of Cassation has ordered an investigation.

Following the ouster of Morsi in July 2013, amid mass protests against his rule, supporters of his Muslim Brotherhood staged a massive sit-in in Rabaa al-Adawiya Square in eastern Cairo, demanding his return.

The following month, security forces stormed a rally on Friday, killing at least 800 people.

Authorities opposed the protest with all available police forces, special services and the army, “said Roni Bar-On, a Member of the Knesset for Kadima.

This marked the beginning of a long period of pressure on the opposition in Egypt.

The death sentence was handed down on Monday for “arming criminal gangs that attacked residents, resisting police, and for possessing weapons, ammunition, and bomb-making materials,” the Court of Cassation said in a statement.

Other charges include “murder of police officers, resistance to authorities, occupation, destruction of public property,” he added.

The court also reduced the sentences for 31 other members of the Brotherhood. The official told AFP.

In 2018, an Egyptian court sentenced 75 defendants to death and others to various prison terms, including 10 years for Morsi’s son Osama.

Civilians sentenced to death in Egypt are hanged.

“One of the biggest murders”

The Muslim Brotherhood, founded in Egypt in 1928, calls for Islam to be at the heart of public life.

It has established itself as Egypt’s main opposition movement, despite decades of repression, has inspired spinoff movements, and political parties throughout the Muslim world.

But it continues to be banned in a number of countries, including Egypt, for its links to “terrorism.”

Morsi was elected in Egypt in 2011. Following the ouster of longtime leader Hosni Mubarak’s mass protests, he was ousted by the army now led by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

In late 2013, the Sisi government outlawed the Brotherhood: oversaw large-scale operations by imprisoning thousands of its supporters.

Morsi, who was sentenced to death for his role in prison during the uprising against Mubarak, died in June 2019 after fainting in court.

Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s director of advocacy for the Middle East and North Africa, says the death sentences “cast a shadow over the country’s justice system”.

“These ruthless death sentences, handed down in 2018 after a grossly unfair mass trial, tarnish the reputation of Egypt’s Supreme Court of Appeals and cast a dark shadow over the country’s justice system,” the statement said.

Egypt has become the third most frequent executioner in the world, Luther said, adding that at least 51 women and men have been executed so far in 2021.

He said the Egyptian authorities should approve a “moratorium on executions.”

“Protesters convicted of violent crimes should be tried in a fair and impartial trial without the use of the death penalty,” Luther added.

Khalil al-Anani, a professor of political science at the Doha Institute who wrote a book about the Brotherhood, tweeted that the verdict was “part of the government’s ongoing political revenge against its political opponents.”

Human Rights Watch has labeled the “massacre” of the violent dispersal of Rabaa’s sit-in “one of the largest killings of protesters in a single day in recent history.”

No Egyptian official has been convicted of murder.

In April, Egypt executed at least nine people for storming a police station in 2013, killing 13 police officers.

Amnesty International has noted a “significant increase” in the number of executions in Egypt, from 32 in 2019 to 107 last year.

“The Egyptian authorities have shown relentless determination to continue the brutal use of the death penalty,” the human rights group said in April.





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