In a major development in the Middle East, Egyptian Criminal Court has sentenced 75 people to death on Saturday including prominent Muslim Brotherhood leaders: Mohamed al-Beltagy, Safwat Higazi and Essam al-Erian for the 2013 “Rabaa dispersal” case.
Security forces dispersed supporters of the pro-Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi on August 14, 2013 from Rabaa al-Adaweya square in Nasr City. The government claimed that many protesters were armed and the eight members of the security forces were killed. On the other hand rights groups says more than 800 protesters died.
The Cairo court also sentenced 47 defendants to life imprisonment, most notably the Supreme Guide of the group Mohamed Badia, former Supply Minister Basem Ouda and Asam Sultan. Osama, son of Former President Mohamed Morsi, was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
The sit-in was abruptly ended with security forces killing hundreds of protesters. The Amnesty International condemned Saturday’s court verdict, calling the trial “disgraceful”. Moustafa Kassem, a US citizen is also among those sentenced to jail term.
Rabaa Adawiya square in Cairo was the single most deadly incident in unrest which followed the 2011 popular uprising that toppled country’s long time leader Hosni Mubarak. The violence occurred weeks after the military ousted Egypt’s first democratically elected head of state Mohammed Morsi.
Morsi was removed from office by the military nearly one year into his first term in office, after large numbers of Egyptians took to the streets demanding an end to his rule.
The National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) said that the dispersal of the sit-in left 632 people dead, 1492 injured and nearly 800 arrested.