Egyptian Court Sends 529 to Death in Mass Death Penalty Case
This is a legal case heard around the world and even for Egyptian law, it the mother of all verdicts-529 are sentenced to face death in the murder of a police commander. It is the most harsh verdict in any court of law, anywhere in the world. But it gets weirder- the verdict of this mass death penalty case was decided on Day Two of the trial! Now, I am no expert on the law in Egypt, but it defies all logic-a verdict on the second day of trial? Yet, it still gets weirder. The case that the ruling is on actually saw 1000 people killed during a melee last August 150 miles south of Cairo at Minya. This is a Islamic stronghold. The melee began when police attempted to breakup two groups. So far, nobody is charged with the deaths of those 1000!
In reality, Egypt with its military back regime and a sympathetic judiciary really are intent of demolishing once and for all, the Muslim Brotherhood, who just a year ago, seemed to be obtaining a real hold in the political system.
Only 16 managed to escape the death penalty verdict but the other weird thing is that 400 of the total were tried and convicted in absentia because they have not been found! Lawyers of those who were in court were not allowed to state a defense for clients.
So, 129 will be executed unless the appeal works. How did the Egyptian Court respond to public outcry:
"The verdict was reached after careful study of the case and the Court was not influenced in any way by the executive branch of the government". The problem with this fact is the case file details is 3000 pages thick and the decision was only on the second day. I guess all the judges are speed readers or they did not even bother to read it. The lawyers who did represent some defendants, or tried to, were not allowed to present their defenses and the accused were not allowed in the room.
Recall that President Morsi, who was elected and tossed out in July, is still in jail and in December 2013, the Brotherhood was outlawed and declared it was now a terrorist organization by the ruling military. Morsi is facing murder charges (he attended college in California!).
As crazy as it sounds, it still bizarre because how in the world would the prosecutor prove that 500 people each played a meaningful role in the murder of a single person? And, as if that case is not enough, another case involving 683 defendants with similar charges has occurred which includes the Brotherhood's leader.
Since July 2013, police have arrested and jailed 16,000 sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood. Huh, I think the message is clear......
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