Final Decision On 188 ‘Kerdasa’ Death Sentences Postponed Over ‘Security Concerns’

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The final verdict on death sentences imposed on 188 defendants in the ‘Kerdasa clashes’ case has been delayed until 22 February over “security concerns.”

Giza criminal court sentenced the defendants to death on 2 December and sent the verdict to the Grand Mufti for review, a requirement in Egyptian law before any execution can be carried out.

The Mufti’s decision is non-binding, however.

The court originally set 24 January 2015 to issue its final verdict. The verdict can still then be appealed.

The defendants were found guilty of killing police officers after storming Kerdasa police station in Giza, following the dispersal of pro-Mohamed Morsi sit-ins in Cairo on 14 August 2013 that left hundreds dead and sparked nationwide unrest.

They were also found guilty of the attempted murder of ten other police personnel, sabotaging the police station, torching a number of police vehicles and possessing heavy firearms.

Out of the 188, 151 are detained while 37 are at large and were tried in absentia.

This is not the only mass death sentence issued by courts this year.

In March, Minya court passed the death penalty on 529 people for killing a police officer and committing acts of violence. And in April, the same judge handed the same sentence in a separate case to another 683 people over similar charges.

The Grand Mufti approved the death sentences for 37 in the first trial and 183 in the second, both of which the court upheld.

The two cases are currently being appealed.

The two mass death sentences were widely criticised by local and international rights groups and organisations as well as foreign governments.

Source : Ahram online

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