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Hamas says Egypt verdict against its members a 'massacre'

Following the ouster of Morsi in July 2013, relations soured between Egypt and Hamas, a sister organisation of the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood

Ahram Online , Sunday 17 May 2015
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The Palestinian movement Hamas said on Sunday it rejected the death sentences handed to some of its members a day earlier by a Cairo court as "void," calling the verdict a "massacre."

Hamas, the de facto rulers of Gaza strip, said the verdict "gave legal cover to the Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people and established fascism".

On Saturday, Cairo Criminal Court handed a preliminary death sentence to Islamist former president Mohamed Morsi and 105 other defendants in a case related to a 2011 jail break.

The court also issued the same ruling to Muslim Brotherhood leaders Mohamed El-Beltagy and Khairat El-Shater, along with 14 others, in another case on charges of conspiring with foreign powers, including Hamas, to destabilise Egypt.

Following the ouster of Morsi in July 2013, relations soured between Egypt and Hamas, a sister organisation of the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood.

In a statement on the group's official website, Hamas said the sentences were politically-motivated, based on "absence of evidence and forged facts" and disregarded "all human, Islamic, national and legal values."

"(We) did not and will not intervene in Egypt's internal affairs," the statement said. "Attempts to taunt the Palestinian resistance movement will end with shame and loss."

Some of the death sentences were handed to people dead or detained years ago, the movement said, including Raed El-Attar who was killed in 2014 and Hossam El-Sanea who was killed in 2008, as well as Hassan Salama, detained in Israeli prisons since 1996.

Hours after the verdict, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu-Zuhri said the sentences were "unfortunate and shocking."

Commenting on the wave of criticism that followed the verdicts, Egypt's state official public relations agency said critics reflected "ignorance and inaccuracy."

Two Cairo court verdicts in January and February declared the group’s military wing Al-Qassam Brigades, as well as Hamas to be terrorist organisations.

Shortly after, Egypt's government challenged the verdict against Hamas, and the lawyer who filed the case withdrew it.

However, the verdict against Al-Qassam remains in place.

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