Thursday, December 3, 2015 1:38 pm
Egypt’s top appeal court, the Cairo Cessation Court, on Thursday overturned an earlier death sentence against Muslim Brotherhood group leader Mohamed Badie and 11 others and ordered a retrial.
The court also overturned life sentences against 26 others, granting all 38 defendants a retrial in the case dubbed “The Rabaa Operations Room.”
Another two defendants had earlier been sentenced to death and 11 others handed life sentences in absentia (according to Egyptian law, they do not qualify for a retrial since they were not present during the appeal process.)
The defendants had been found guilty of setting up an “operations room” during the ‘’sit-in’’ in support of ousted President Mohamed Morsi in Rabaa al-Adawiya St. in Cairo’s Nasr City district, which was forcibly dispersed by security forces in August 2013.
They also face other charges that include funding the sit-in, plotting terrorist attacks against public facilities and spreading false information to destabilise the state.
Several hundred group members and supporters were killed during the break-up of the sit-in that challenged the ouster of Morsi by the army in July 2013 following mass protests against his rule.
Badie, other group leaders and members had received death and life sentences in other cases.
Local and international rights groups have repeatedly criticised the security crackdown and the mass trials against activists and Muslim Brotherhood members.
In December 2013, Egypt’s military-backed interim government declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group, criminalising all its activities and freezing its assets.
The government said the decision was a response to a deadly suicide bombing that targeted a police headquarters in a Nile Delta city, killing 16 people and injuring over 100 others.
Since the ouster of Morsi, Egypt has witnessed a wave of violence, mainly against policemen, especially in the restive North Sinai province.