It took only two court sessions for a judge to sentence to death 529 Mohammed Morsi supporters for the death of one police officer in Egypt. The defendants were arrested after violent demonstrations occurred as a reaction to the police crackdown in August on pro-Morsi sit-ins in Cairo where hundreds were killed.
Of those that were sentenced to death, only 159 were actually in the courtroom, while the remaining defendants were tried in absentia. One defendant’s son, Waleed Sultan, called the entire affair a “scandal” and claimed that it was not a judicial sentence but mere “thuggery.” He added: “The session lasted for five minutes, and during those five minutes none of the lawyers or the defendants were listened to – not even the prosecution. The judge just came in to acquit the 16 and sentence to death the others.”
The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies said in a statement: “This verdict is a disaster. To rule in the second session of a trial – it means the judge didn’t hear the defense or look at the evidence. Even someone from the second grade of the law faculty would never have issued this verdict – it goes against the basic principles of criminology.”
Since Morsi was overthrown last July, there have been at least 16,000 political arrests. On Tuesday, 683 more Muslim Brotherhood supporters will stand trial.
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