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Egypt upholds death sentence for 12 senior Muslim Brotherhood figures

·2 min read

CAIRO, June 14 (Reuters) - Egypt's highest civilian court on Monday upheld death sentences against 12 senior Muslim Brotherhood figures over a 2013 sit-in which ended with security forces killing hundreds of protesters, judicial sources said.

The ruling, which cannot be appealed against, means the 12 men could face execution pending approval by President Abdel Fattah al-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.

Many Muslim Brotherhood figures have been sentenced to death in other cases related to the unrest that followed the military's ousting of Brotherhood president Mohamed Mursi in 2013, but the Court of Cassation ordered retrials.

Monday's ruling relates to a mass trial of hundreds of suspects accused of murder and incitement of violence during pro-Brotherhood protests at Rabaa Adawiya square in Cairo in the weeks after Mursi's overthrow.

In September 2018, an Egyptian criminal court sentenced 75 people to death and issued varying jail terms for more than 600 others. Many defendants were tried in absentia.

Forty-four of those sentenced to death appealed to the Court of Cassation. Thirty-one had their sentences changed to life in prison, while death sentences were upheld for 12 others.

A final defendant, the senior Muslim Brotherhood leader Essam el-Erian, died in prison in Cairo in August 2020. Mursi, Egypt's first democratically elected president, died in prison in 2019.

The court also upheld jail terms for many other defendants including a life sentence for Mohamed Badie, leader of the outlawed Brotherhood, and a 10-year jail term for Mursi's son Osaama, the judicial sources said.

The break-up of the Rabaa sit-in was the single most deadly incident in unrest following Egypt's 2011 uprising.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet condemned the 2018 sentencing as "the result of an unfair trial" which could result in "a gross and irreversible miscarriage of justice". (Reporting by Haitham Ahmed; writing by Mahmoud Mourad; editing by Aidan Lewis, William Maclean)

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