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188 death sentences in Egypt's latest mass capital punishment verdict

Giza criminal court sentences 188 to death for the murder of 11 police officers in Kerdasa in August 2013

El-Sayed Gamal El-Din , Tuesday 2 Dec 2014
kerdasa
Giza criminal court in trial of Kerdasa massacre (Photo: Al-Ahram)
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Giza's criminal court sentenced 188 defendants to death for a violent attack on a police station after last year's ouster of president Mohamed Morsi that left 11 police personnel and two civilians dead.

The defendants were found guilty of killing the officers after storming Kerdasa police station in Giza, following the dispersal of the pro-Morsi Rabaa and Nahda sit-ins in Cairo on 14 August 2013 that left hundreds dead and sparked nationwide unrest.

They were also found guilty of the attempted murder of 10 other police personnel, sabotaging the police station, torching a number of police vehicles and possessing heavy firearms.

Out of the 188, only 135 were present while the rest were tried in absentia.

Defence lawyer Bahaa Abdel-Rahman told Ahram Online that among the defendants were two persons who died during the trial, but who weren't dropped from the trial, along with a minor.

The verdict was sent to Egypt's Grand Mufti for review, a requirement in Egyptian law before any execution can be carried out.

However, the Mufti's decision is non-binding to the court.

The court set 24 January 2015 to issue its final verdict, after the Mufti issues his decision. The verdict can still be appealed.

This is not the only mass death sentence issued by courts this year.

In March, Minya court gave the death penalty to 529 persons for killing a police officer, committing acts of violence, rioting, destroying public and private property, attacking police officers, and attempted murder of police officers.

In April, the same judge handed the same sentence in a separate case to another 683 persons for also killing a police officer, committing acts of violence, rioting, destroying public and private property, attacking police officers, and inciting violence.

The Grand Mufti approved the death sentences for 37 in the first trial and 183 in the second, both of which the court upheld.

The two cases are currently being appealed.

The two mass death sentences were criticised by a number of local and international rights groups and organisations as well as foreign countries.

During the United Nations periodical review of Egypt's human rights situation in Geneva last month, several countries including Germany, Hungary, France, Switzerland and Uruguay recommended that Egypt abolish the death sentence from its penal code.

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