Twelve death sentences handed down in Egypt against members of the Muslim Brotherhood, including two leaders of the Islamist Brotherhood, were upheld by an Egyptian court.
The Court of Cassation also reduced the death sentences of 31 other members of the brotherhood – having participated in an Islamist sit-in in Cairo in 2013 where hundreds of people were killed by the security forces – to prison terms for life.
Those sentenced to death were accused of “arming criminal gangs that attacked residents, resisting police and possessing firearms and ammunition as well as bomb-making equipment”, can we read in the judgment of the Court.
The other charges included “the murder of police officers”, “resistance to the authorities” and “the occupation and destruction of public property”, according to the court. These court decisions cannot be appealed, said the judicial officer.
The popular uprising of 2011
The Muslim Brotherhood, now considered a “terrorist” organization, was removed from the political landscape in 2013 after the brief one-year term of one of theirs, Mohamed Morsi. The first democratically elected president after the popular revolt of 2011, Mohamed Morsi was dismissed by the army, then led by Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi – who has since become president -, thanks to mass demonstrations.
The case, which dates back to 2013 and is known locally as the “case of the dispersal of the Rabaa sit-in” , initially had more than 600 defendants. Rabaa refers to a square in eastern Cairo where security forces violently attacked and killed hundreds of people in a single day during a massive Islamist sit-in calling for Morsi’s return.
In 2018, an Egyptian court sentenced 75 participants in this sit-in to death and the others to various prison terms. Mohamed Morsi’s son, Osama, had been sentenced to 10 years in prison.
The dispersal of this gathering , which took place a few weeks after the dismissal of Mohamed Morsi, was described by the NGO Human Rights Watch as “the most important mass killing in modern Egyptian history “. The authorities said at the time that members of the Muslim Brotherhood were armed and that the dispersal operation was a counterterrorism operation .