Egyptian judge defends mass death sentences of Muslim Brotherhood – for teaching Jewish Scripture

Egyptian judge defends mass death sentences of Muslim Brotherhood – for teaching Jewish Scripture

After Egyptian courts sentenced dozens of Muslim Brotherhood supporters of ousted president Mohammed Morsi to death, and sentenced hundreds more to life, the court defended its verdict by calling the men “demons” who preached Jewish scripture, according to The Guardian.

Earlier this year, after a two-day trial, the Egyptian court sentenced 529 members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood to death for the murder of a police officer and other offenses.  The court eventually upheld the death sentences for 37 of the Islamist defendants while the remainder had their sentences commuted to life in prison.

The presiding judge, Saeed Youssef, stated this week that “the accused came out of the depths of hell…to plunder Egypt’s wealth, tyrannize its people and they killed the deputy commissioner,” adding that the men were “enemies of the nation” and used mosques to promote the teachings of “their holy book, the Talmud,” a series of scriptures on Jewish Law.

There are believed to be at most 200 practising Jews remaining in Egypt.  In addition, all the defendants had been accused of support for the Muslim Brotherhood, a group associated with rabid anti-semitism – although many defendants say they had nothing to do with the brotherhood or the murder.

The case was completed in just two court sessions that lasted less than an hour in total. The United Nations said they “cannot possibly have met even the most basic requirements for a fair trial”.  But in his statement, Youssef said he was satisfied that there was enough evidence to incriminate the accused. 

The military toppled Morsi in July 2013 following mass protests against his year in power, and security forces launched a crackdown on his supporters, killing hundreds and arresting thousands more. Following the army’s overthrow of Morsi’s democratically elected government, the new military authorities formally listed the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization after accusing it of carrying out a suicide bomb attack on a police station that killed 16 people.

In April, Youssef, the same judge that sentenced 529 people to death, handed the death penalty to 683 people alleged to be supporters of Morsi, accusing them of murder and the attempted murder of the policemen.

Judges are due to confirm the 683 death sentences this month.