On Monday Egypt’s highest civilian court upheld the death sentences of 12 senior Muslim Brotherhood members.
The case stems from the unrest that followed the military’s removal of Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.
The men include Abdul Rahman Al-Bar, commonly described as the group’s mufti or top religious scholar, Mohamed El-Beltagi, a former member of parliament, and Osama Yassin, a former minister.
The men were convicted of ‘arming criminal gangs which attacked residents and resisted policemen as well as possessing firearms … ammunition… and bomb-making material’, the court of cassation said in its ruling.
The 12 men could face execution pending approval by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
Rights groups have documented a sharp rise in executions in Egypt. So far at least 51 people have been executed this year, according to Amnesty International.
Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said the death sentences “cast a shadow over the country’s entire justice system”.
The Muslim Brotherhood remains banned in Egypt for its alleged links to ‘terrorism’.
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