Wednesday, 26 March 2014
Mass Egypt Death Sentences ‘Breach International Law’
The UN human rights commissioner has condemned an Egyptian court’s decision to sentence to death 528 supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi.
A spokesman for Navi Pillay said the “cursory mass trial” was “rife with procedural irregularities” and breached international human rights law.
The defendants were found guilty on Monday of charges relating to an attack on a police station in Minya in August.
Another 683 Morsi supporters went on trial at the same court on Tuesday.
They include the Muslim Brotherhood’s general guide, Mohammed Badie, and the chairman of its Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), Saad al-Katatni.
Later, security forces clashed with hundreds of Minya University students protesting against the trials.
Tear gas was fired at the students after they blocked a main road, threw stones and set an armoured police vehicle on fire.
There has been widespread condemnation of Monday’s decision by the Minya Criminal Court to sentence 528 people to death for their alleged participation in an attack on a police station in the central city in mid-August, in which a police officer was killed.
The incident took place in the immediate aftermath of an operation by security forces to break up two sit-ins in the capital Cairo that left almost 1,000 people dead. The sit-ins were set up by supporters of Mr Morsi’s after he was overthrown by the military the previous month.
The trial, at which more than three-quarters of the defendants were not present, is reported to have lasted less than an hour on Saturday.
The prosecution did not put forward evidence implicating any individual defendant, even though it had compiled significant evidence, and the court prevented defence lawyers from presenting their case or calling witnesses, according to Human Right Watch.