[JURIST] An Egyptian criminal court on Tuesday sentenced 188 Muslim Brotherhood [party website; JURIST news archive] supporters to death for an August 2013 attack on a police station in the governate of Giza, widely known as the “Kerdasa massacre.” This incident resulted in the death of 11 police officers and two civilians and was staged in response to a military coup that ousted Mohammed Morsi [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive], Egypt’s first democratically elected president. The death sentences imposed by special circuit court Judge Nagi Shehata are considered provisional, meaning that they will be sent to highest religious authority for his advice on whether the orders should stand. Shehata set a January 24 court date to finalize the sentences. 143 of the 188 defendants are currently in custody, while those not yet in custody will receive a retrial. Rights groups including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International [press releases] condemned the mass death sentences.
Egypt has come under fire in the past for mass trials. In October an Egyptian court sentenced 23 activists to three years in prison for protesting without a permit, an act that violates a law enacted [JURIST reports] in November 2013. In June an Egyptian court confirmed [JURIST report] a similar mass death sentence of 183 members of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s largest opposition movement, which the government designated a terrorist group in 2013 after Morsi’s ouster. UN human rights officials argued in March that the mass trials in Egypt violate international law [JURIST report].