Egypt sentences 75 to death, hundreds to jail over 2013 sit-in

Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Mohamed Badie was handed a life sentence. (File/AFP)
Updated 08 September 2018
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Egypt sentences 75 to death, hundreds to jail over 2013 sit-in

  • Egypt sentenced 75 people to death over a 2013 pro-Muslim Brotherhood sit-in which ended with the killing of hundreds of protesters
  • Those sentenced to death by hanging include senior Brotherhood leaders Essam Al-Erian and Mohamed Beltagi and prominent Islamist preacher Safwat Higazi

CAIRO: An Egyptian court on Saturday issued death sentences for 75 people and jailed more than 600 others over a 2013 sit-in which ended with the killing of hundreds of protesters by security forces.
The sentencing concluded the mass trial of some 700 people accused of offenses including murder and inciting violence during the pro-Muslim Brotherhood protest at Rabaa Adawiya square in Cairo.
The government says many protesters were armed and that eight members of the security forces were killed. It initially said more than 40 police had died.
Rights groups say more than 800 protesters died in the single most deadly incident during the unrest that followed Egypt’s 2011 popular uprising. Amnesty International condemned Saturday’s decision, calling the trial “disgraceful.”
In Saturday’s hearing at the vast Tora prison complex south of Cairo, a criminal court sentenced to death by hanging several prominent figures including senior Brotherhood leaders Essam Al-Erian and Mohamed Beltagi and preacher Safwat Higazi.
Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Mohamed Badie and dozens more were given life sentences, judicial sources said. Others received jail sentences ranging from five to 15 years.
Cases were dropped against five people who had died while in prison, judicial sources said, without giving further details.
Following weeks of protests in 2013 against the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi by the military, security forces violently broke up the demonstrators at Rabaa square.
They arrested hundreds of people who were charged with inciting violence, murder and organizing illegal protests.
Rights groups have criticized the trial for including many peaceful protesters and journalists.
An award-winning photographer who covered the protests, Mahmoud Abu Zeid, was sentenced to five years in jail, but would soon be released because his five years in detention during the trial are counted toward the sentence, judicial sources said.
Abu Zeid, also known as Shawkan, was awarded a United Nations press freedom prize this year. He was charged with belonging to a banned group and possessing firearms.


‘Arab world needs heroes like Salah and Malek,’ Bahrain workshop told

Updated 1 min 28 sec ago
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‘Arab world needs heroes like Salah and Malek,’ Bahrain workshop told

  • FIFA chief calls for program to build more football pitches in Palestine

MANAMA: The Arab world needs heroes, and football and the film industry can help provide them, the US-led “Peace to Prosperity” workshop in Bahrain was told.

In a plenary session at the event, titled “the power of sport and entertainment,” Thomas Barrack, an American financier and one of US President Donald Trump’s closest advisers, said: “We in the Arab world do not create our own heroes, we’ve done a bad job at creating role models for Arabs. But football and film have been roads to doing that in the rest of the world.”

Gianni Infantino, president of the international football governing body FIFA, told delegates at the gathering in the Bahraini capital Manama, that the game could help inspire youngsters, and singled out the Egyptian player Mohamed Salah as an example of a new hero in the Middle East.

“Half of the world watches the World Cup. We have got to give hope, dreams and a smile to the world,” he said.

Argentinian film producer Fernando Sulichin, responsible for several Hollywood blockbuster movies, highlighted the success of Oscar-winning “Bohemian Rhapsody” film star Rami Malek, of Egyptian descent, as an example of the kind of success Arab actors could enjoy.

On White House adviser and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner’s plan to revive the economy of Palestine and surrounding regions, Sulichin said: “Here is this plan. It is a script. I’m a producer, so now let’s get it done.”

He also noted the recent “renaissance” in moviemaking in Saudi Arabia as an example of how film could complement positive social change.

The FIFA boss also called for a program to build more football pitches in Palestine, where he said there were only 25 playing areas for a population of 5 million people.