Published: Tue, September 11, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Egypt court sends 75 to death over 2013 protest

Egypt court sends 75 to death over 2013 protest

- An Egyptian court on Saturday issued its final verdict upholding death sentences against 75 Muslim Brotherhood members and supporters - including journalists - for their participation in protests following the 2013 ouster of democratically elected President Mohamed Morsy.

An estimated 800 protesters were killed by security forces in clashes that erupted in Rabaa Adawiya square, the most deadly incident following the country's popular uprising that ousted long-time strongman Hosni Mubarak two years earlier.

Senior Muslim Brotherhood leaders Essam al-Erian, Mohamed Beltagi, and preacher Safwat Higazi are three of 75 people given the death penalty for joining a 2013 protest.

The court also sentenced former Muslim Brotherhood (MB) group supreme guide, Mohamed Badie, 46 other MB members to life imprisonment (25 years in jail).

But Abdelrady added that the sentence was still "unfair because he (Shawkan) was only doing his job", covering the events unfolding in the Egyptian capital five years ago.

About 200 defendants were sentenced to five years behind bars, among them award-winning photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid.

The mass trial has been widely condemned by human rights organizations, with Amnesty International calling it a "grotesque parody of justice", the BBC reported.

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Since becoming president of Egypt in 2014, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has been blamed for cracking-down on dissent.

"We condemn ... [the] verdict in the strongest terms", Amnesty International said in a statement to Reuters.

Previously, the Egyptian government had claimed that almost 40 police had died, although this figure was not proved.

Shawkan, who received UNESCO's Press Freedom Prize in May, was accused of "murder and membership of a terrorist organisation". Charges were dropped against five defendants who died.

Hundreds more people were killed in street clashes with police over several months after the August massacre and mass arrests were carried out.

At least 600 people were killed when security forces broke up the protest in August 2013.

Egypt's courts have sentenced hundreds of people to death or handed them lengthy jail terms in other mass trials, including Mr Morsi and several leaders of his Muslim Brotherhood movement.

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