News|Muslim Brotherhood
Egypt upholds death penalty for 12 Muslim Brotherhood members
Court decision marks end of a trial linked to a mass killing by security forces at a sit-in in Cairo in 2013.
Muslim Brotherhood members wave with the Rabaa sign, symbolising support for the organisation, at a court on the outskirts of Cairo [File: Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters]
14 Jun 2021
Egypt’s highest civilian court on Monday upheld death sentences for 12 Muslim Brotherhood members, concluding a trial linked to a 2013 mass killing by security forces at a sit-in, according to judicial sources.
The ruling, which cannot be appealed against, means the 12 men could face execution pending approval by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. They include Abdul Rahman Al-Bar, commonly described as the group’s mufti or top religious scholar, Mohamed El-Beltagi, a former member of parliament, and Osama Yassin, a former minister.
Egyptian court sentences 24 Muslim Brotherhood members to death
Egypt upholds life sentences for 10 Muslim Brotherhood figures
Why is Austria coming after the Muslim Brotherhood?
Egypt sentences Muslim Brotherhood leader to life in prison
Many Muslim Brotherhood figures have been sentenced to death in other cases related to the unrest that followed the military’s removal of Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, but the Court of Cassation ordered retrials.
Following Morsi’s removal in July 2013 amid mass protests against his rule, his Muslim Brotherhood supporters staged a huge sit-in at Rabaa Al-Adawiya Square in eastern Cairo to demand his return.
The following month, security forces raided the square and killed some 800 people in a single day.
Authorities said at the time that protesters were armed and the forced dispersal was a vital “counterterrorism” measure.
It marked the start of a long crackdown against opposition in Egypt.
Those condemned to death on Monday were convicted of “arming criminal gangs which attacked residents and resisted policemen as well as possessing firearms … ammunition… and bomb-making material”, the court of cassation said in its ruling.
Other charges include “killing policemen… resisting authorities… and occupation and destruction of public property”, it added.
The court also reduced sentences for 31 other Brotherhood members, an official told AFP news agency.
In 2018, an Egyptian court sentenced 75 defendants in the trial to death and the rest to varying jail sentences, including 10 years for Morsi’s son Osama.
Civilians condemned to death in Egypt are executed by hanging.
‘One of largest killings’
The Muslim Brotherhood, founded in Egypt in 1928, calls for Islam to be at the heart of public life.
It established itself as the main opposition movement in Egypt despite decades of repression, and has inspired spinoff movements and political parties across the Muslim world.
But it remains banned in several countries including Egypt for its alleged links to “terrorism”.
Morsi was elected following Egypt’s 2011 mass protests and removal of longtime leader Hosni Mubarak, but was toppled by the army led by now-President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
Sisi’s government outlawed the Brotherhood in late 2013 and has overseen a wide-ranging crackdown, jailing thousands of its supporters.
Morsi, who had been sentenced to death for his role in jailbreaks during the uprising against Mubarak, died in June 2019 after fainting in court.
Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said the death sentences “cast a shadow over the country’s entire justice system”.
“These ruthless death sentences, which were handed down in 2018 after a grossly unfair mass trial, are a stain on the reputation of Egypt’s highest appeals court and cast a dark shadow over the country’s entire justice system,” he said in a statement.
Egypt has become the world’s third most frequent executioner, Luther said, adding that at least 51 men and women have been executed in 2021 so far.
He said Egyptian authorities must establish an official “moratorium on executions”.
“Those protesters convicted of committing violent crimes should be retried in fair and impartial trials without recourse to the death penalty,” Luther added.
Khalil al-Anani, a political science professor at the Doha Institute who wrote a book on the Brotherhood, said on Twitter the verdict was part of the government’s “continued political revenge … against its political opponents”.
Human Rights Watch has labelled the violent dispersal of the Rabaa sit-in a “massacre” and one of “the world’s largest killings of demonstrators in a single day in recent history”.
No Egyptian official has been tried over the killings.
In April, Egypt executed at least nine people over the 2013 storming of a police station in which 13 policemen were killed.
Amnesty International has lambasted a “significant spike” in recorded executions in Egypt, from 32 in 2019 to 107 last year.
“Egyptian authorities have displayed a ruthless determination to persist with their escalating use of the death penalty,” the rights group said in April.
How Turkey became a hub for Arab Spring exiles
Turkey is home to four million refugees – mostly Syrians – along with Arab activists, journalists and political figures.
22 Dec 2020
Egypt sentences Muslim Brotherhood leader to life in prison
Court finds Mahmoud Ezzat, acting supreme guide of the country’s oldest Islamist organisation, guilty of ‘terror’ acts.
8 Apr 2021
Top Muslim Brotherhood leader dies in Cairo prison
Essam el-Erian had complained of medical negligence in detention after being sentenced to several life sentences.
13 Aug 2020
Antalya, Mugla wildfires continue as Turkey puts out dozens
Myanmar general promises to hold multi-party elections in 2023
Olympic glory for Germany’s tennis ace Alexander Zverev
Death toll in Afghanistan floods tops 100, dozens still missing
Kandahar airport hit by rocket fire as Afghanistan fighting rages
Millions across US at risk of eviction as coronavirus surges
‘They are a failed coup and a failed regime’
In Pictures: Turkish wildfires leave charred homes and ashes
Our Channels
Our Network
Follow Al Jazeera English:
© 2021 Al Jazeera Media Network
You rely on Al Jazeera for truth and transparency
We understand that your online privacy is very important and consenting to our collection of some personal information takes great trust. We ask for this consent because it allows Al Jazeera to provide an experience that truly gives a voice to the voiceless.
You have the option to decline the cookies we automatically place on your browser but allowing Al Jazeera and our trusted partners to use cookies or similar technologies helps us improve our content and offerings to you. You can change your privacy preferences at any time by selecting ‘Cookie preferences’ at the bottom of your screen. To learn more, please view our Cookie Policy.
Cookie preferences