Egyptian courts have sentenced Mohamed Badie, Muslim Brotherhood leader and 21 other members of the group to death in two separate cases of incitement to violence.
As per the State news agency, MENA, Badie along with 13 top Brotherhood members had been declared, on Monday, guilty of “plotting attacks aimed at sowing chaos” in Egypt during 2013. They had been further charged with setting up a room for initiating attacks in July 213 on the state during the weeks following the ouster of the Islamist president Mohamed Morsi. In November 2013, the Brotherhood had been branded as a terrorist organization by the authorities at the helm of affairs at the moment, and the organization had come under brutal reprisals in the form of attacks on its supporters. Hundreds of Brotherhood supporters were done to death, and thousands imprisoned after a summary trial that sparked worldwide protests including from the Secretary General of the U.N. Ban-Ki-moon.
Badie was earlier sentenced to four life terms and death penalty, but these were later overturned, and he had now been facing a re-trial. MENA told that Badie’s co-defendants who had been sentenced to death along with Badie on Monday included Mahmud Ghazian, former spokesman of Brotherhood, senior members of the group, and former provincial governors.
Ahmad Helmi, defense lawyer, termed the sentences as farcical, and added that the court had pronounced the verdicts before the defense could finish its closing arguments pertaining to five defendants. MENA further reported that the court verdict had been referred to the Egypt’s Top Sunni Muslim authority, Al-Azhar, as per the Egyptian law, for an advisory opinion. Although, opinion of Al-Azhar was not binding on courts; it was a procedure adopted prior to the ratification of the death sentences. The court had the ultimate authority on the verdict, and it could commute the sentences that could be further challenged in an appellate court later. A total of 51 suspects were being tried, out which 31 were already behind bars, and included those 14 handed capital punishment.
The Cairo court is scheduled to announce the final verdict in this case on 11th April.