Gamal Heshmat: Death Sentences Coup Decisions that End Independence of Judiciary Myth

Gamal Heshmat: Death Sentences Coup Decisions that End Independence of Judiciary Myth

A senior leader of the Muslim Brotherhood said the sentences handed down today (Monday) by Minya Criminal Court (in central Egypt) against 1211 supporters of President Morsi signal the fall of the so-called ‘independence of the judiciary’.

Earlier on Monday, Minya Criminal Court, presided over by Judge Saeed Youssef Sabra along with Judges Ibrahim Walid and Talaat Gouda, referred the cases of 683 defendants – including the Muslim Brotherhood’s Chairman Mohamed Badie – to the Grand Mufti for ratification (for the death penalty), convicting them of "breaking into Adwa police station and threatening public peace". The court also set June 21 for a final verdict to be passed regarding those cases.

The same court confirmed the death sentences against 37 other supporters of elected President Morsi. Their cases had been referred to the Grand Mufti in March 2014 for ratification, usually just a formality. The court commuted to life sentences (25 years) death sentences against 491 others convicted of "attacking police stations in the towns of Samalut and Matai in Minya governorate".

In a statement, Gamal Heshmat, member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Shura Council (the group’s highest advisory body), said that these sentences "put an end to the myth of independence of the judiciary, and confirms that these judgments are solely based on direct orders from the coup masterminds who deposed the legitimate elected President for personal interests".

"There is no justice, no legal system in Egypt any more. Lawsuits are now turned into political battles, where the ruler seeks revenge against honorable patriotic citizens."

He pointed that "These judgments are worthless… We will not be intimidated. We will not abandon the Revolution raging in the street, and which assures the whole world that there is no justice in Egypt".

In conclusion, Heshmat added that "The nature of military coups is that they seek revenge through death sentences against members of all opposition, which is exactly what is happening in Egypt today".

Separately, Human Right Watch lambasted the ‘cursory mass trials’ and sentencing to death of hundreds of pro-democracy Egyptians that took but a few hours and where the court prevented defense lawyers from presenting their case.