Egyptian court hands preliminary death sentence to 8 Morsi supporters

Ahram Online , Sunday 9 Aug 2015

The defendants are accused of killing two low-ranking police officers and storming Samalout police station following the dispersal of two pro-Morsi sit-ins in August 2013

Supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi perform the Friday prayers at Rabaa Al-Adawiya Mosque where they are camping in Cairo July 12, 2013. (File Photo: Reuters)

A Minya criminal court issued a preliminary death sentence to eight supporters of former president Mohamed Morsi for killing two security personnel and storming Samalout police station in Minya, Upper Egypt, following the dispersal of two Islamist sit-ins in Cairo in August 2013.

The sentences were referred to the Grand Mufti -- a necessary procedure before issuing a death sentence according to Egyptian law -- though the religious opinion of the Mufti is non-binding.

The court also set 4 September to announce its final verdict regarding the remaining 111 defendants in the same case.

The prosecution accused the 119 defendants of a range of charges including murder, attempted murder, as well as storming and destroying public properties.

In March 2014, a Minya criminal court issued a preliminary death sentence to 529 Morsi supporters on charges of murdering Mostafa El-Attar, the deputy commander of the Matay district police station in Minya, in what is considered the biggest mass death sentence in the history of Egyptian courts.

The incident also took place during the unrest in the aftermath of the dispersal of the Rabaa and Nahda sit-ins in August 2013.

Following the mufti's refusal to approve the sentences, the court issued a final verdict sentencing only 37 defendants to death and 492 to life in prison in April 2014.

In January 2015, the court of cassation accepted the appeal in the case.

Mohamed Morsi and hundreds of his supporters have been sentenced to death following his ouster in 2013 after mass protests against his one-year rule. 

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