Egyptian Court Sentences 75 Persons To Death 

Members of Egypt’s banned Muslim Brotherhood are seen inside a glass dock during their trial in the capital Cairo on July 28, 2018. PHOTO: KHALED DESOUKI / AFP

 

An Egyptian court on Saturday sentenced 75 Islamists, including Muslim Brotherhood leaders to death.

This is referred to as the largest single case of capital punishment convictions in the country’s top religious authority.

Egyptian law requires the grand mufti to be consulted on death sentence cases, although his opinion is not legally binding and those convicted still have the right to appeal.

Those found guilty were among 713 defendants on trial for killing policemen and vandalising property during 2013 clashes between security forces and supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

Senior Brotherhood members Mohamed el-Baltagui, Issam al-Aryan and Safwat Hijazi were in the dock, while 31 others were tried in absentia.

Also on trial was prominent photojournalist Mahmud Abu Zeid, widely known as Shawkan, who in May received UNESCO’s Press Freedom Prize. The court postponed a verdict on his and other cases.

On August 14, 2013, one of the bloodiest days in Egypt’s modern history, a month after the army ousted Morsi, police moved to disperse a sprawling Islamist protest camp at Rabaa al-Adawiya square in Cairo.

About 700 people were killed within hours at Rabaa al-Adawiya and the capital’s Nahda Square where another sit-in was being held.

Hundreds more were killed in street clashes with police over several months after the August carnage and mass arrests were carried out.

Global rights groups Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said at least 40,000 people were arrested within the first year of Morsi’s ouster on July 3, 2013.

Egypt’s courts have sentenced to death or lengthy jail terms hundreds of people after speedy mass trials, including Morsi and several leaders of his Brotherhood movement.

Many have appealed and won retrials but 26 executions have been carried out.

AFP

Federal Government Warns Citizens Against ‘Muslim Brotherhood’

Federal Government Warns Citizens Against 'Muslim Brotherhood'The Nigerian government says a cell of a Boko Haram affiliate, called the ‘Muslim Brotherhood’ in Kogi state, is acquiring bomb-making chemicals and high-calibre weapons to perpetrate “acts of terror”, including attacks on banks, arms depots and prisons in the country.

According to a statement by the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, intelligence monitoring showed that the cell was making frantic efforts to advance its IED-making capability through the acquisition of chemicals used for producing IEDs and aluminium powder, a fuel source for amplifying explosions.

In his words: “Further intelligence monitoring has revealed that members of the Muslim Brotherhood are planning to forcefully free their members who are in detention in Kogi, Abuja and Kaduna, including one Bilyaminu, an IED expert for the group who is now at Kuje prison,”

The minister, therefore appealed to Nigerians to be vigilant and to report any suspicious persons or movements to the appropriate authorities.

Egypt Court Quashes Mohammed Morsi’s Life Sentence

Mohammed morsi, Life Sentence Egypt’s highest appeal court has again overturned a life sentence handed down to ousted President Mohammed Morsi.

The Court of Cassation ordered that the 65-year-old be retried on the charge of conspiring to commit terrorist acts with foreign organisations.

Last week, the court quashed a death sentence handed to Morsi in a separate case revolving around a mass prison break during the 2011 revolution.

But he is still serving lengthy sentences related to two other cases.

Morsi became Egypt’s first democratically elected president in 2012, but he was removed by the military a year later after mass protests against his rule.

The organisation to which he belonged, the Muslim Brotherhood, has since been outlawed.

A government crackdown on the movement, as well as other groups, has resulted in tens of thousands of arrests and mass trials.

Morsi’s lawyer, Abdel Moneim Abdel Maqsoud, told AFP news agency that the sentences against several Muslim Brotherhood officials, who stood trial alongside him on charges of spying for Iran and Hamas, were also overturned.

Egypt Votes In Long-Delayed Parliamentary Elections

Egyptians begin electionsThe first round of long-delayed elections to choose a new parliament have opened in Egypt.

The elections  are the first parliamentary polls since the previous chamber was dissolved by a court ruling in 2012.

The authorities described the election as the final step in a transition to democracy.

Critics, however, said that most of the candidates are supporters of President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi and the new parliament is likely to strengthen his control.

President Sisi, a former general, led the 2013 military overthrow of Islamist President, Mohammed Morsi, following months of unrest.

Mr Morsi’s party, the Muslim brotherhood, won about half the seats in the last parliament, but it has been banned and its leaders are in jail with some facing death sentences.

Election results after two rounds of voting, are not expected to be known until early December.

Voters are choosing 596 members for the lower house of  the House of Representatives.

The elections are being held amid heavy security, as the country had witnessed several attacks carried out by militants loyal to the Islamic State group over the past years.

At least 185,000 soldiers and 180,00 police personnel had been deployed to polling booths across the country.

Egypt Vows To Continue Sinai Offensive ‘Until IS Removed’

isEgypt’s military has vowed to continue its attack against Islamic State (IS) militants in the Sinai Peninsula, after clashes left more than 100 dead.

The army maintained that operations will not stop until they rid the area of all terrorist activities.

Air strikes continued into the early hours of Thursday.

The army says 17 soldiers were among those killed after militants launched simultaneous raids on military checkpoints in Sheikh Zuweid and Rafah crossing.

The attack was one of the largest coordinated assaults in the area yet by IS local affiliate, Sinai Province.

It was reported on Wednesday that Separately, security officials said nine members of the now banned Muslim Brotherhood, including former MP, Nasr al-Hafi, had been killed in a Police raid in Western Cairo.

Germany Releases Al Jazeera Journalist, Ahmed Mansour

mansourAl Jazeera has announced the release of its reporters, Ahmed Mansour, held at the Berlin airport in Germany has been released.

Ahmed Mansour, who works for the network’s Arabic-language service, was detained on Saturday as he tried to board a flight from Berlin to Qatar.

It is reported that a court in Cairo, Egypt’s capital, sentenced him to 15 years in prison in absentia last year on torture charges.

Earlier, the German government had said that it could veto an extradition decision from the court.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Martin Schaefer, told a news conference that Germany has repeatedly questioned the rule of law in Egypt.

“Against this background, you will surely understand that there are doubts in the Mansour case.

“I don’t think one can say this loudly enough: Of course, nobody will be extradited from Germany who risks being sentenced to death abroad”, he said.

According to Al Jazeera, Saad Djebbar, one of Mansour’s lawyer, said that while his client was ‘very happy’ about the court’s decision, he was also ‘very sad’ that the Al Jazeera Journalist was detained in the first place.

Another lawyer, Patrick Teubner, said that with the court decision, Mansour could now leave Germany.

Dozens of supporters of Mansour had protested in front of the Berlin court building where he was held.

Mr Mansour, along with two Muslim Brotherhood members and an Islamic preacher, were accused of taking part in the torture of a lawyer in Cairo’s Tahrir Square in 2011, during protests against then President Hosni Mubarak.

Al-Jazeera Journalist Arrested

al-jazeeraA senior journalists working with Al-Jazeera has been arrested in Germany at the request of Egypt.

Ahmed Mansour, who works for the channel’s Arabic-language service, was detained as he tried to board a flight from Berlin to Qatar.

A German police official said Egyptian authorities had issued an international arrest warrant for Mr Mansour.

A court in Egypt’s capital, Cairo sentenced him to 15 years in prison in absentia last year on torture charges.

However, Al-Jazeera says the claims made against Mr Mansour, who has dual British and Egyptian citizenship, are absurd and false.

Egypt accuses Al Jazeera of being a mouthpiece of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Qatar-backed Islamist movement that President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi removed from power in 2013 when he was army chief and calls a terrorist group.

Both the television channel and the Brotherhood reject the allegations made by Egyptian authorities.

A Cairo court sentenced Mansour, who has dual Egyptian and British citizenship, to 15 years in prison in absentia last year on a charge of torturing a lawyer in 2011 in Tahrir Square, the focus of the uprising that toppled veteran autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Mansour said he expected to soon face a judge who would decide whether to extradite him.

Mohammed Morsi Gets 20 Years Jail Sentence

morsiA court in Egypt has sentenced former President Mohammed Morsi to 20 years in prison, over the killing of protesters while in power.

The court’s judgement is coming nearly five years after the Muslim Brotherhood leader became Egypt’s first freely elected president.

Mursi stood in a cage in court as judge Ahmed Sabry Youssef read out the ruling against him and 12 other Brotherhood members, including senior figures Mohamed el-Beltagy and Essam el-Erian. The sentencing was broadcast live on state television.

The men were convicted on charges of violence, kidnapping and torture stemming from the killing of protesters during demonstrations in 2012. They were acquitted of murder charges, which carry the death sentence.

Reuters reports that the defendants chanted “God is Greatest” after the verdict was read, displaying a four-finger salute symbolising resistance to the state’s crackdown on Islamists.

The ruling is the first against Mursi, who says he is determined to reverse what he calls a military coup in 2013 staged by then army chief, now president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

“His trial has been a travesty of justice, which has been scripted and controlled by the government and entirely unsupported by evidence,” Amr Darrag, a former minister under Mursi, said in a statement from Istanbul.

A lawyer for some of the defendants said they would appeal.

After toppling Mursi following mass protests against his rule, Sisi proceeded to crush the Brotherhood, which he says is part of a terrorist network that poses an existential threat to the Arab and Western worlds.

 

Peter Greste In Australia After Release From Egyptian Jail

gresteAfter spending over 400 days in an Egyptian jail, Al-Jazeera journalist, Peter Greste, has returned to Brisbane, Australia, following his release from prison.

At a news conference, the journalist described his relief and praised the long campaign to free him and his colleagues.

Greste said, “I can’t tell you how ecstatic I am to be here. This is a moment that I’ve rehearsed in my mind at least 400 times over 400 days.”

Mr Greste and two of his colleagues were arrested in 2013. They were convicted of spreading false news and aiding the banned Muslim brotherhood.

He had been sentenced to seven years on charges rejected by Al Jazeera that included aiding a terrorist group in a case that had attracted widespread attention and criticism of Egypt’s leadership and judiciary.

His colleagues, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, remain in prison.

Egypt’s President, Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, issued a decree in November 2014 granting him the power to deport foreign defendants convicted or accused of crimes.

“If it’s right for me to be free then it’s right for all of us… I think that Egypt now has an opportunity to show that justice doesn’t depend on your nationality,” Greste said at a Brisbane news conference, flanked by members of his family.

Al Jazeera Journalist, Peter Greste Released

al jazeera journalistAl Jazeera journalist Peter Greste was released from a Cairo jail on Sunday and left Egypt to Cyrus after 400 days in prison on charges that included aiding a terrorist group.

The Australian ex-BBC correspondent was arrested in December 2013 and tried with his two Al Jazeera colleagues on charges that included spreading false news and aiding the Muslim Brotherhood.

There was no official word on the fate of his two Al Jazeera colleagues – Canadian-Egyptian, Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian National, Baher Mohamed.

The three were sentenced to seven to 10 years on charges including spreading lies to help a terrorist organization – a reference to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

Mr Fahmy, who holds dual Egyptian and Canadian citizenship, may be freed after having his Egyptian Nationality was revoked.

All the defendants denied the charges against them and said their trial was a sham.

They were accused of collaborating with the banned Muslim Brotherhood after the overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi by the Military in 2013.

In their defence, the three men said they were simply reporting the news.

Many Egyptians see Qatar-based Al Jazeera as a force set on destabilizing the country, a view that had been encouraged in the Local Media which labeled the Journalists “The Marriott Cell”, because they worked from a hotel of the U.S.based chain.

Egyptian authorities accused Al Jazeera of being a mouthpiece of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Qatar-backed movement which President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi toppled in 2013 when he was Egypt’s army chief.

The timing of Greste’s release came as a surprise, just days after Egypt suffered one of the bloodiest militant attacks in years. More than 30 members of the security forces were killed on Thursday night in Sinai, and ensuing comments from Sisi suggested he was in no mood for compromise.

The Interior Ministry said on its Facebook page that Sisi released Greste under a decree issued in November authorizing the President to approve the deportation of foreign prisoners.

Scores Dead, Others Injured In Potiskum Explosion

ExplosionAbout 20 people have been confirmed dead in Potiskum, the commercial city of Yobe State after a mid-day suicide bomb attack on Muslim brotherhood who were on a procession in observance of the 10th Day of Muharram 1436 celebration.

A suicide bomber detonated an explosive device killing scores of Muslim worshipers.

Witnesses said that the Muslim brotherhood, the Shia, were on procession in Potiskum metropolis in observance of the 10th Day of Muharram 1436 celebration when the explosion went off among the worshipers killing scores of those in the procession.

It was also gathered that the bomber was among the worshipers when the explosion went off around 11:15 on Monday morning.

Although Residents said that several followers of the group, particularly women and children, were killed by the explosion, the State Commissioner of Police, Mr Markus Danladi, told Channels Television that four had died, while five people were injured in the blast.

The blast killed three members of the Muslim brotherhood plus the bomber, giving a casualty figure of four, “but before we got to the scene, the group has evacuated the bodies of those effected by the blast,” the CP said.

According to Danladi, the suicide bomber took advantage of the procession to carry out his dastardly act, “Yes a suicide bomber was among the Shia group and detonated his explosive device, killing members of the group,” the CP said, but final casualty figure was yet to be known.

However, the leader of the Muslim brotherhood in Potiskum, Mustapha Lawan, who also spoke to Channels Television on phone, said that 13 people were killed on the spot during the explosion but the figure had risen to 26.

He noted that the figure was still rising because so many people were affected by the explosion.

In the meantime, the Yobe State Governor, Mr Ibrahim Gaidam, has condemned the attack in which many lives were lost and injuries sustained describing it as heinous, barbaric and unwarranted.

In a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Press Affairs, Abdullahi Bego, the Governor expressed regret that the attack came at a time that peace was generally returning to the state.

While describing those behind the attack as criminals, the Governor called on the people of the state to remain prayerful, calm and vigilant and directed the hospitals in the state to provide free medical treatment to all the victims of the attack

The entire area had been condoned off by security men as residents remained in their various locations to avoid being victims of any attack.

Potiskum has been experiencing several bomb attacks with the last one before this occurring two days after the Eid-el Fitr Sallah celebration where worshipers were killed in two separate mosque attacks.

 

 

Egypt ‘Brotherhood’ Condemns Sinai Attacks

Muslim BrotherhoodEgypt’s outlawed Muslim Brotherhood has condemned attacks in the Sinai Peninsula that killed at least 33 security personnel on Friday, blaming President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for security failures.

The attacks are a setback for the government, which had managed over the past few months to make some progress in the struggle against an Islamist militant insurgency in the Sinai as it focuses on trying to repair the economy.

It would be recalled that army chief Sisi ousted elected President Mohamed Mursi of the Brotherhood in July 2013 after protests against his rule.

His government has since cracked down on Egypt’s oldest and most organised Islamist movement, throwing thousands of Mursi’s supporters in jail and labeling the group a terrorist organization. It draws no distinction between the Brotherhood and Islamist militants in the Sinai.

However, the Muslim Brotherhood says it is a peaceful movement and has consistently denied links to Islamist militant attacks against security forces, which have increased since the movement was removed from power.

In an e-mailed statement to Reuters, the Brotherhood called the attacks a “massacre” and offered condolences to the victims’ families.

“The Muslim Brotherhood believes the shedding of blood of any Egyptian is forbidden. The group holds the junta and its leaders responsible for the continued failure in the security, economic and social fields, as experienced by all the people, especially the people of the Sinai,” the statement said.

The Muslim Brotherhood was propelled to power in 2012, winning Egypt’s first free elections after the 2011 uprising that removed Hosni Mubarak from power after 30 years.

Sisi won a presidential election in May, after ousting Mursi from the presidency after one turbulent year in power.
He said on Saturday that the attacks were an “existential threat” and Egypt has declared a state of emergency in North Sinai as it seeks to stem attacks.

Hundreds of police and soldiers have been killed in the last year.