Egyptian court upholds death sentences for Muslim Brotherhood members

Egyptian court upholds death sentences for 12 Muslim Brotherhood members who staged 2013 sit-in in Cairo.

Elad Benari ,

Muslim Brotherhood protesters (illustration)
Muslim Brotherhood protesters (illustration)

An Egyptian court on Monday upheld death sentences for 12 Muslim Brotherhood members, concluding a trial linked to a 2013 mass killing by security forces at an Islamist sit-in, a judicial official said, according to AFP.

The ruling, which includes two senior Brotherhood leaders, effectively ends a case which started with over 600 defendants in the aftermath of the military's 2013 overthrow of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi.

The Muslim Brotherhood was outlawed and designated a terrorist organization in Egypt in December 2013, several months after Morsi’s ouster.

Following Morsi's ouster, his Muslim Brotherhood supporters staged a massive 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 counter-terrorism measure.

Since Morsi’s ouster, Egyptian authorities have launched a crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood members and supporters. As part of the crackdown, thousands of Brotherhood supporters have been jailed.

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.

Those condemned include senior Brotherhood figures Mohamed al-Beltagy and Safwat Hegazy, the judicial source said, adding that the rulings are final and cannot be appealed.

In 2018, Egypt passed a law to oversee the freezing of assets of “terrorists” and “terrorist groups”.

Following the approval of that law, the assets of more than 1,000 charities tied to the Muslim Brotherhood were frozen.