Washington Denounces Death Sentences in Egypt

A U.S. official said that shocking and outrageous actions the Egyptian government has taken will affect the decision taken by the White House administration on its aid policy to the Middle East country. That comment came in response to the 529 death sentences an Egyptian court handed to Muslim Brotherhood supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi.

On Tuesday, the U.S. strongly denounced and condemned Egypt’s mass handing down of death sentences calling to unconscionable for authorities in Egypt to carry out such a ruling.

A spokesperson for the U.S. State Department said the verdicts represented flagrant disregard for the world’s standards of justice.

The verdicts on Monday sparked international and local condemnation with many questioning how a trial could be fair if it lasted just two days.

Each of the defendants were found guilty of murder as well as other offenses at the time the violence broke out in Minya following the ousting of then-president Morsi  and the dispersal of two protest camps on August 14.

The spokesperson from the State Department said if leaders in Egypt wanted to ensure a transition to democracy, which ultimately improves the economic prospects and stability of the country and its people, they need to ensure unequivocally that the government is free of retribution and intimidation. That includes ensuring that fair trials and due process are carried out for every Egyptian accused of a crime.

The Ministry of Justice in Egypt, in response to the condemnation triggered by Monday’s verdict, stressed that the judiciary in Egypt is independent. A spokesperson for the ministry said that those found guilty can appeal and be given a new trial.

Nevertheless, the spokesperson from the U.S. State Department said the White House was evaluating its aid policy for Egypt, while it was important the country maintained its ties to the country for a number of regional, economic and security reasons.

Last year, the U.S. suspended a large part of its economic and military aid of $1.5 billion pending Egypt’s progress towards democracy.

Most legal experts believe the verdicts will be overturned on appeal.

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