Egypt: Take action against mass death sentences, add your name to international statement

March 30, 2014

A court in the Upper Egyptian province of Minya has sentenced 529 defendants to death in a trial that has been condemned as “grotesque” by Amnesty International. Take action now and add your name to the statement below statement published at the British-based Egypt Solidarity Initiative. Signatures will be published and delivered to representatives of Egypt's government by April 28, the likely date for an appeal against the sentences.

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We condemn the death sentences issued by a court in Minya province in Egypt on March 24 against 529 defendants who were found guilty of the murder of a police officer during the storming of Matay police station in August 2013.

The use of the death sentence against such a large number of defendants underscores that the current regime is not interested in finding out the truth about the events that led to this prosecution, but rather in imposing collective punishment on its opponents.

The sentences were issued without hearing any arguments from the defence in a trial that lasted only 45 minutes according to defence lawyers.

International and local human rights groups have documented many cases of mass arbitrary arrests, lack of access to legal representation and severe torture of detainees since the military’s intervention to remove Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated president Muhammed Morsi from power on July 3 last year.

We also note that according to Amnesty International around 1400 people were killed between June 30 last year and January, the vast majority of them protesters. According to local human rights activists, the numbers of detainees arrested during the same period may be as many as 21,000.

In such circumstances it is impossible to have any confidence in this judgement.
We call for an end to the violent repression of protests in Egypt and fair trials for all accused.

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