Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Egyptian court sentences nearly 530 to death

CAIRO — An Egyptian court Monday sentenced to death nearly 530 suspected backers of ousted President Mohammed Morsi over a deadly attack on a police station, capping a swift, two-day mass trial in which defense attorneys were not allowed to present their case.

It was the largest single batch of death sentences in the world in recent years, Amnesty International said. The U.S. State Department said it "defies logic" that so many people could get a fair trial in just two sessions.

The verdicts by a court in the city of Minya are subject to appeal and are likely to be overturned.

But the outcome stunned human rights activists and raised fears that the rule of law is being swept away in the crackdown waged by the military-backed interim government against Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood since his overthrow last summer.

"It turns the judiciary in Egypt from a tool for achieving justice into an instrument for taking revenge," said Mohammed Zarie, a human rights lawyer in Cairo.

Egypt's Foreign Ministry brushed off the criticism, saying in a statement that the judiciary is "entirely independent and is not influenced in any way by the executive branch of government."

The government has branded the Brotherhood a terrorist group, a claim it denies. Some 16,000 people have been arrested since Morsi's ouster, including most of the group's top leaders as well as large numbers swept up by police during pro-Morsi protests.

In the case decided Monday, 545 defendants were charged with murder, attempted murder, joining an outlawed group aiming at toppling the regime and stealing government weapons in connection with the attack in August in the town of Matay, south of Cairo. The town's deputy police chief, Mohammed al-Attar, was killed in the violence.

The bloodshed was part of nationwide rioting sparked when security forces stormed two pro-Morsi sit-ins in Cairo and killed over 600 people.

The state news agency and a judicial official said 528 defendants were found guilty and handed death sentences, while the rest were acquitted, though some officials put the number at 529 convicted. All but about 150 of the defendants were tried in absentia and will get retrials if captured.

Egyptian court sentences nearly 530 to death 03/24/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 25, 2014 12:12am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Why the Lightning would consider trading Jonathan Drouin

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — This summer, the Lightning could trade one of its most dynamic young players ever.

    Wing Jonathan Drouin could be the only piece that Tampa Bay has to acquire a badly needed top-tier defenseman.
  2. Ryan Hunter-Reay running strong as he seeks a second Indianapolis 500 title

    Auto racing

    Ryan Hunter-Reay isn't a big jewelry fan.

    Ryan Hunter-Reay, who won Indy in 2014, is a contender for a second title in today’s 101st running. He qualified 10th, had the third-fastest practice lap and his team is looking strong.
  3. As Trump's overseas trip ends, crisis grows at home (w/video)

    Politics

    President Donald Trump headed home Saturday to confront a growing political and legal threat, as his top aides tried to contain the fallout from reports that his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is a focus of investigations into possible collusion between Russia and the president's campaign and transition teams.

    President Donald Trump waves as he exits Marine One on Saturday at Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sicily, Italy. After a nine-day trip overseas, the president is returning to Washington.
  4. Tributes pour in for Zbigniew Brzezinski, an 'influential voice' in politics (w/video)

    Nation

    WASHINGTON — Well before he went to the White House in 1977, Jimmy Carter was impressed by the views of foreign policy expert Zbigniew Brzezinski. That Carter immediately liked the Polish-born academic advising his campaign was a plus.

    Foreign policy expert Zbigniew Brzezinski died Friday.
  5. One year after deaths, Sunset Music Festival kicks off with emphasis on water and security

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Before the beat drops, or even builds, you hear Steve-O.

    "If you don't get water you're lame!"

    "Hey! Free water! Come on!"

    Steve "Steve-O" Raymond motions to guests making the line to grab free water bottle at the entrance of the Sunset Music Festival on the grounds of the Raymond James Stadium parking lot in Tampa. ( LUIS SANTANA   |   Times)