Egypt court sentences five to death for police killings

Ahram Online , Thursday 2 Apr 2015

According to Amnesty International, Egypt topped the world for the most death sentences in 2014, issuing 509

An Egyptian court on Thursday sentenced five supporters of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group to death on charges of killing policemen, a judicial source said, the latest in a string of death sentences against Islamists.

The men were convicted of playing a role in the killing of 14 policemen in the town of Kerdasa on the outskirts of Giza in August 2013, during the unrest following the ouster Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

Authorities have since launched a harsh security crackdown on Islamists that has seen thousands jailed and hundreds killed.

The court has set a 4 May date to formally issue the ruling after referring the case to the country's top religious authority, the grand mufti - the first step towards imposing a death sentence.

Egyptian law requires the mufti to review any capital sentence, but his ruling is not binding.

The men were previously sentenced in absentia in December 2014. They were among 188 others facing trial in the same case, but they automatically received a retrial after they surrendered themselves, pursuant to Egyptian law.

Sentences against 183 of those were confirmed in February, while the rest was either acquitted, sentenced to jail or had charges against them dropped.

In its annual report on capital punishment penalties on Tuesday, Amnesty International said that Egypt, along with Nigeria, tops the world for the most death sentences issued in 2014, with 509 announced in the country during the year .

The London-based rights watchdog said Egypt carried out 15 confirmed executions during 2014.

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