Reverse 'unfair trial' death sentences | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 10, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, September 10, 2018

Reverse 'unfair trial' death sentences

UN urges Egypt

United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet yesterday urged Egypt's appeals court to overturn mass death sentences handed down by a lower court after what she said was an "unfair trial".

The former Chilean President, who took office as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights last week, criticised a law giving immunity from future prosecution to senior military officers.

An Egyptian court on Saturday delivered death sentences to 75 people, including prominent Islamist leaders Essam al-Erian and Mohamed Beltagi, over a 2013 sit-in that ended with security forces killing hundreds of protesters.

If carried out, the sentences "would represent a gross and irreversible miscarriage of justice", Bachelet said in a statement.

Defendants were denied the right to individual lawyers and to present evidence, while "the prosecution did not provide sufficient evidence to prove individual guilt", she said. "I hope that the Egyptian Court of Appeal will review this verdict and ensure that international standards of justice are respected by setting it aside," Bachelet said.

The sentencing, which included jail terms for more than 600 others, concluded a mass trial of people accused of murder and inciting violence during the pro-Muslim Brotherhood protest at Rabaa Adawiya square in Cairo.

Bachelet decried the "lethal military crackdown" saying it had led to the killing of "up to 900 mostly unarmed protesters by members of the Egyptian security forces". 

"Justice must apply to all – no one should be immune,” she added.

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