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
0

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.


Iran’s Hassan Rouhani may skip UN meet over US visa delay

Updated 18 September 2019

Iran’s Hassan Rouhani may skip UN meet over US visa delay

TEHRAN: Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and his delegation could be forced into skipping next week’s UN General Assembly because the United States has yet to issue them visas, state media said Wednesday.
Rouhani and his delegation had been scheduled to travel to New York for the annual UN gathering on Monday, but that was now looking unlikely given the lack of visas, state news agency IRNA said.
“If the visas aren’t issued in a few hours, this trip will probably be canceled,” IRNA reported.
The delegation includes Iran’s top diplomat Mohammad Javad Zarif, who the United States imposed sanctions against on July 31.
The foreign minister had been due to travel to New York on Friday morning, according to IRNA.
The absence of Rouhani would ruin France’s bid to arrange a meeting between him and US President Donald Trump as part of European efforts to de-escalate tensions between the arch-foes.
“Iran’s absence will show that in contrast with its commitments to the United Nations and international organizations within the framework of agreements, diplomacy has no value for the United States,” IRNA said.
“Although the Islamic Republic of Iran has not left the scene and it continues its active diplomacy, the US government must answer for its behavior,” it added.
The UN General Assembly debate is due to begin on Tuesday.
As the host government, the United States generally is obliged to issue visas to diplomats who serve at UN headquarters.
But Iran and the United States have been at loggerheads since May last year when Trump abandoned a 2015 nuclear deal and began reimposing sanctions in its campaign of “maximum pressure.”
Iran responded by scaling back its commitments under the landmark accord, which gave it the promise of sanctions relief in return for limiting the scope of its nuclear program.