UN: Egypt's mass death sentence violates int’l law

UN: Egypt's mass death sentence violates int’l law
Tue Mar 25, 2014 18:05:46

The United Nations human rights office has condemned a controversial ruling by Egyptian court to sentence 529 members of the Muslim Brotherhood to death as a violation of international law.

On Monday, Egypt’s Upper court has sentenced 529 Muslim Brotherhood supporters to death regarding Minya protests.

Rights campaigners and lawyers described the ruling as the biggest mass death penalty handed out in Egypt's modern history.

The Muslim Brotherhood's leader and 682 others went on trial on Tuesday in the same court.

"The mass imposition of the death penalty after a trial rife with procedural irregularities is in breach of international human rights law," UN human rights spokesman Rupert Colville said at a news briefing in Geneva.

"A mass trial of 529 people conducted over just two days cannot possibly have met even the most basic requirements for a fair trial," he said.
Some 398 of the defendants were tried in absentia, he said.

The exact charges against each defendant were unclear as they were not read out in court and not all defendants had a lawyer, Colville said.

Defense lawyers said that they did not have proper access to their clients and that the court did not consider evidence they had presented on their behalf, he said.

"It is particularly worrying that there are thousands of other defendants who have been detained since last July on similar charges. The Minya criminal court in southern Egypt is today trying more than 600 individuals for membership of the Muslim Brotherhood, among other charges," Colville said.

The Egyptian government has declared Brotherhood a "terrorist" group; a decision that has sparked waves of protests across the North African country.


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