International

Egyptian Junta continues mass executions spree

The US-client regime of Field Marshal Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi continues mass executions spree as an Egyptian kangaroo court sentences another 75 anti-government people to death.

According to Reuters report, an Egyptiankangaroocourt sentenced 75 people to death on Saturday (Sept 8) including prominent opposition leaders Essam al-Erian and Mohamed Beltagi over a 2013 sit-in which ended with killing hundreds of protesters by the Egyptian security force.

The sentencing, which included jail terms for more than 600 others, concluded a mass trial of people accused of murder and inciting violence during the pro-Muslim Brotherhood protest at Rabaa Adawiya square in Cairo in 2013.

Rights groups say more than 800 protesters died in the single most deadly incident during the unrest that followed Egypt’s 2011 popular uprising against longtime President Hosni Mubarak. 

Death sentences have been handed down to hundreds of Al-Sisi's political opponents on charges such as belonging to an illegal organization or planning to carry out an attack.

The protest occurred weeks after General Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi (who later assumed the title of Field Marshal) ousted Egypt’s first freely elected head of state, president Mohamed Mursi.

“We condemn today’s verdict in the strongest terms,” Amnesty International said in a statement. “The fact that not a single police officer has been brought to account.. shows what a mockery of justice this trial was.”

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have both described the situation in Egypt as the worst human rights crisis in the country in decades, with the state systematically using torture, arbitrary arrests and enforced disappearances to silence political dissent.

Last year, the Egyptian government pledged to take action against Human Rights Watch after it released a damning report on state torture.

Two parliamentary groups in Algeria have called for official national and international action to halt mass executions against activists, human rights workers and political figures in Egypt.

Movement of Society for Peace; the largest political party in Algeria and Union for Development, Justice and Building said in a joint statement that lawmakers “are following with great concern the developments of the human rights situation in the Arab world; the most recent of which was the issuance of mass death sentences against political, human rights and community symbols”.

The signatories described the executions as “a flagrant attack on the right to life”, which is politically motivated “amounting to genocide or mass murder according to international law”.

UN Human Rights chief urges Egypt to overturn mass death sentences

United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet has urged Egypt’s appeals court to overturn mass death sentences handed down by a lower court after what she said was an “unfair trial”.

The former Chilean president, who took office as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights earlier this month, criticised a law giving immunity from future prosecution to senior military officers.

An Egyptian court on Saturday delivered death sentences to 75 people, including prominent Islamist leaders Essam al-Erian and Mohamed Beltagi, over a 2013 sit-in that ended with security forces killing hundreds of protesters.If carried out, the sentences “would represent a gross and irreversible miscarriage of justice”, Bachelet said in a statement.

Defendants were denied the right to individual lawyers and to present evidence, while “the prosecution did not provide sufficient evidence to prove individual guilt”, she said.

“I hope that the Egyptian Court of Appeal will review this verdict and ensure that international standards of justice are respected by setting it aside,” Bachelet said.

Bachelet decried the “lethal military crackdown” saying it had led to the killing of “up to 900 mostly unarmed protesters by members of the Egyptian security forces”. The government later claimed that many protesters had been armed and that a number of police were killed, she added.

“Despite the huge death toll, no State security personnel have ever been charged in relation to the so-called ‘Rabaa massacre’,” Bachelet said.

Tellingly, a law was passed in July gives Field Marshal al-Sisi the right to name officers who are eligible for immunity from investigation of offences alleged to have been committed while Egypt’s constitution was suspended between President Mursi’s overthrow on July 3, 2013, and the reconvening of parliament on January 10, 2016.

Not surprisingly, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has authorised the release of $1.2 billion in military aid to Egypt, overriding previous human rights concerns that had held up funding. 

“Strengthened security cooperation with Egypt is important to US national security. Secretary Pompeo determined that continuing with the obligation and expenditure of theseforeign military financing (FMF),funds is important to strengthening our security cooperation with Egypt,” the State Department said in a statement.

Abdus Sattar Ghazali is the chief editor of the Journal of America (www.journalofamerica.net) email: asghazali2011 (@) gmail.com

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