75 Muslim Brotherhood members, who were part of the 739 people charged after the violent dispersal of a protest camp in support of former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, have been sentenced to death in Egypt.
The 75 Muslim Brotherhood members who were given the death penalty for offences ranging from murder to incitement to break the law, membership of a banned group, or being part of an illegal gathering, staged a sit-in days before Morsi was ousted by Abdel Fatah al-Sisi in a military coup on 3 July 2013 and continued the protest until it was violently dispersed on 14 August 2013. It was gathered that most of the protesters who died in the dispersal at Rabaa al-Adawiya square in Cairo, were pro-Morsi protesters and Brotherhood members and affiliates.
Just after Amnesty International condemned the trial, describing it as “a grotesque parody of justice”, the verdict, by judge Hassan Farid el-Shami, was announced on Saturday in Cairo’s heavily fortified Tora prison courthouse.
Senior Muslim Brotherhood leader Essam el-Erian, politician Mohamed el-Beltagy, Salafi preacher Safwat Hegazy, former youth minister Osama Yassin and cleric Abdel-Rahman el-Barr all received death sentences.
While a total of 374 defendants, mainly Morsi suppporters, were given 15 years in detention, Osama Morsi, the son of the detained former president, as well as 22 others, was sentenced to 10 years. 215 defendants, including photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid, known as Shawkan, got five years sentences, causing dozens of defendants in the soundproof cage to rejoice
Guardian reported that the verdicts can be appealed. On the other hand Several of the defendants, including Shawkan, have already spent five years in detention, two years were spent during the prosecution’s investigations. Shawkan, who was arrested in 2013, went to cover the raid on the protest camp at Rabaa for the UK-based photo agency Demotix.
He was frequently pictured during the trial posing as though holding a camera in the defendants’ cage, an attempt to demonstrate to the world that Egypt had incarcerated a journalist for doing his job. Egypt is ranked 161 out of 180 countries for journalistic safety and freedom of the press by Reporters Without Borders.