Egypt’s top kangaroo court upheld on Saturday (May 12) jail terms from seven to 10 years against 65 loyalists of the currently outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group over committing acts of violence in 2013 in the capital Cairo, official MENA news agency reported.
The rulings of the Court of Cassation are final and un-appealable.
The convicts have been accused of holding illegal protests, committing acts of riots and violence that killed some citizens and attempted to kill others, storming public and private properties and other charges.
The pro-Brotherhood protests were held following the coup against the first democratically elected Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.
Later in mid-August 2013, the security forces dispersed two major pro-Morsi sit-ins in Cairo and nearby Giza, leaving hundreds dead and thousands arrested.
The Brotherhood group has been outlawed by the military junta in September 2013.
Hundreds of Brotherhood leaders, members and supporters, including Morsi himself and the group’s top chief Mohamed Badie, are currently in jail. Many have received death sentences and life imprisonments over various charges varying from inciting violence and murder to espionage and jailbreak.
The former President Mohammad Morsi is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence over inciting deadly clashes between his supporters and opponents in late 2012 and a 25-year jail term over leaking classified documents to Qatar.
Since Morsi’s ouster, Egypt has been facing a wave of attacks that have killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers as well as civilians.
Egyptian forces have killed hundreds of anti-government elements and arrested thousands during the country’s so-called anti-terror war declared by Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, the army chief who ousted President Morsi.
Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi was Army General when he led coup against Morsi, later he assumed the title of Field Marshall.
In April 35 Morsi supporters sentenced for life imprisonment
On April 4, An Egyptian Kangaroo Court sentenced 35 alleged Muslim Brotherhood members to life in prison for allegedly forming “terrorist cells” to attack security forces and state institutions.
The Sohag Criminal Court sentenced another 155 defendants to three to 15 years on similar charges, including plotting to kill public figures and security officials, and joining an outlawed group, a reference to the Brotherhood which has been declared a terrorist group by the government of US-client Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
Tellingly, the new harsh sentences against the Muslim Brotherhood members came a day after the Egyptian government announced that Field Marshal Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has won re-election as Egypt’s president with 97 percent votes.
An Egyptian Kangaroo court in March this year sentenced 10 people to death and five others to life in prison for allegedly forming a “terrorist group” to plot attacks on security forces and other institutions.
Egypt has cracked down on anti-government elements since the overthrow in July 2013 of Mohammad Mursi. Hundreds of anti-government people, including Muslim Brotherhood supporters and members, have received death sentences since 2013, and Egypt has carried out dozens of executions, according to security sources and rights groups.
According to Cornell Center on the Death Penalty Worldwide database, in recent years there has been a sharp increase in Egyptian courts’ use of capital punishment, with the number of death sentences.
The Cornell Center believes there are at least 1,700 people under sentence of death, but no official figures are available due to intense state secrecy surrounding capital punishment. Amnesty International indicates that at least 1,413 death sentences were issued between 2007 and 2014.
Interestingly, in January this year, an Egyptian kangaroo court handed 268 supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi up to 25-year jail terms over a violent pro-Morsi sit-in following his removal in July 2013.
Giza Criminal Court sentenced 23 defendants to 25 years in prison, 223 to 15 years and 22 to three years, ordering them to pay altogether a fine of more than $2.1 million for the damages they reportedly caused to the surrounding zoo, public park and college building during their 45-day sit-in.
Egyptian judicial system has become a joke
In January this year CNN quoted an Egyptian attorney as saying that Egypt is using death sentences to settle scores.
Human rights advocates say the alarming numbers recorded by the Egyptian Coordination for Rights & Freedoms and the Initiative for Personal Rights are shocking — but the stories behind them are even more harrowing, the CNN said adding:
What happened to four families from the northern city of Kafr el-Sheikh is a case in point. After more than a year of campaigning to have their loved ones’ death sentences commuted in a case clouded by allegations of flaws in Egypt’s judicial system, they received phone calls directing them to collect their relatives’ bodies early on January 2.
Tellingly, an Egyptian Kangaroo Court in February 2016 sentenced a four-year-old child to life imprisonment. The child, Ahmed Mansour Qurani Ali, was convicted on four counts of murder and eight counts of attempted murder. The Egyptian military admitted the mistake only after the story had already circled the globe.