Egypt court accepts appeal in Minya mass death sentence case

Ahram Online , Saturday 24 Jan 2015

529 defendants were given death sentences 24 March, reduced to 37 in April

Egypt's Court of Cassation accepted Saturday appeals on controversial mass death sentences passed on 37 people who were found guilty of murdering Mostafa El-Attar, the deputy commander of the Matay Police Station in Minya, during riots in the aftermath of the forced dispersal of the Rabaa Al-Adawiya sit-in, 14 August 2013.

Another 429 were sentenced to life in prison on the same charges while 17 were acquitted.

Some 529 defendants were initially all given death sentences on 24 March, the biggest mass death sentence verdict in Egyptian legal history, before the number was reduced.

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

Of the 683 death sentences, 183 were confirmed. The case is currently subject to appeal.

The mass death sentences were criticised by international and local rights groups.

On 14 August 2013, two pro-Morsi vigils were dispersed leaving hundreds dead and sparking nationwide unrest.

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