Egyptian court orders retrial in mass death penalty case

Egyptian court orders retrial in mass death penalty case
# 24 January 2015 20:24 (UTC +04:00)

Judicial authorities said the decision was taken on Saturday after the Court of Cassation, the exclusive body atop the judicial hierarchy in Egypt, dismissed the 152 defendants’ appeal, and a retrial was ordered.

They were among 529 supporters of ousted president, Mohamed Morsi, whom a lower court in Egypt’s southern province of Minya sentenced to death last March in a mass trial. The trial and its outcome prompted international outcry.

The death penalties were later commuted to life in prison in the case of 492 defendants, while 37 were ordered sent to the gallows.

On January 19, a court in Egypt’s northeastern city of Mansoura, located about 120 kilometers (74 miles) northeast of the capital, Cairo, handed down prison terms to 75 Muslim Brotherhood proponents over several charges as part of the ongoing crackdown on Morsi’s supporters.

The people were found guilty of charges ranging from attempted murder to vandalism during anti-government protests in the wake of Morsi’s ouster in July 2013.

Morsi was ousted in a military coup led by Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the country’s current president and then army commander. Since then, the government has launched a brutal crackdown on Morsi’s supporters.

The Muslim Brotherhood has been also blacklisted as a terrorist organization by the new Egyptian government.

Rights groups say the army’s crackdown on supporters of Morsi has left at least 1,400 people dead and 22,000 arrested, while some 200 people have been sentenced to death in mass trials.