Egypt court overturns 14 Muslim Brotherhood death sentences

Court of Cassation upholds death sentences of eight other defendants in the case pertaining to an attack on a police station in Kerdasa during anti-coup protests in July 2013.

Photo by: AP (Archive)
Photo by: AP (Archive)

Tens of thousands of Muslim Brotherhood members have received life sentence since 2013.

Updated Oct 20, 2016

Egypt's top court on Wednesday overturned death sentences given to 14 members of the Muslim Brotherhood over an attack on a police station in July 2013 while protesting the ouster of then-president Mohamed Morsi.

A military coup led by then-army chief General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi ousted Morsi three years ago.

Since then, the international community and human rights groups have criticised Egyptian authorities for their crackdown on Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood group.

Morsi was Egypt’s first democratically elected president. (AP Archive, 2012)

The Court of Cassation accepted appeals from the defendants filed last year against a lower criminal court ruling, and ordered them retried. It also threw out one 10-year prison term in the same case.

Eight more defendants in the case were awarded the death penalty in absentia. The court upheld those sentences.

Under Egyptian law, an in absentia conviction automatically entitles the defendant to a retrial upon appearance.

The defendants face murder charges over the killing of a security officer at the police station in Kerdasa and the attempted murder of others in July 2013.

They are also accused of assault, rioting, sabotage, and illegal possession of firearms and knives.

The court gave no legal reasons for its decisions. However, in a few days it is expected to issue a written statement explaining the reasons behind its judgment .

In February, the court ordered the retrial of 149 people on death row in a similar case where the defendants were accused of an assault on the same police station in August 2013. In that assault 14 police officers were killed.

The attacks came after security forces dispersed two pro-Morsi protest camps in Cairo, killing hundreds of people in the process.

TRTWorld, Reuters