[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] on Saturday urged Egypt to halt the executions of six men [press release] convicted by a military tribunal for participating in attacks on security forces and killing two armed forces officers in a shootout in 2014. A total of nine men were accused and convicted of participating in the attack on Egyptian security forces [CNN report] last March, killing two soldiers. The attack was orchestrated by Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis [Department of State backgrounder], which was designated a terrorist organization in Egypt last year, with the group claiming responsibility for the majority of attacks on Egyptian military and police that have occurred since the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi [JURIST reports]. Two of the nine men accused of the March attack were sentenced to life in prison, with the remaining seven sentenced to death. One man was convicted and sentenced to death in absentia. HRW urged Egyptian authorities to stay the executions and to retry the cases before civilian courts.
Earlier this week, Amnesty International reported an “alarming rise” in death sentences around the world in 2014–a trend especially prominent in Egypt, which has gained notoriety for its mass death sentences [JURIST op-ed]. Last month an Egyptian court sentenced a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and 13 others to death [JURIST report] after finding them guilty of planning attacks against the state. In February an Egyptian court ordered a retrial of 36 Muslim Brotherhood supporters [JURIST report]. The 36 are among 183 supporters sentenced to death [JURIST report] in June in connection with violence following the ouster of president Mohammed Morsi in 2013.