Countries should respect Egyptian judiciary’s independence: Foreign Affairs Min.
Badr Abdel Atty, Foreign Ministry spokesperson - YOUM7 (Archive)

CAIRO: The Ministry of Interior demands that countries respect the independence of the Egyptian judiciary, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Badr Abdel Atty said Monday, reported Youm7.

“All countries should understand that the Egyptian judiciary is completely independent,” Abdel Atty said during a phone interview with Moataz Bl Allah Abdel Fatah.

The United States, France, Switzerland and Germany asked that Egyptian authorities abolish the mass death sentence handed out to more than 600 people on Monday, including Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie.

Abdel Attey said that this is not a final verdict, adding that the decision will now be deferred to the Grand Mufti.

Minya Criminal Court issued a final death sentence on Monday to 37 defendants out of 528 who were all originally sentenced to death on charges of killing the deputy head of the Matai Police Station in Minya on Aug. 14, 2013.

Among the 528 defendants, 382 were tried in absentia.

According to Egyptian law, the Grand Mufti must first review and offer an opinion on all death sentences before they are finalized. However, his role is purely consultative. The cases are also eligible for appeal.

The mass death sentence on Monday has sparked anger among many abroad.

According to the AFP, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that he is “alarmed” by Monday’s verdict that sentenced 682 to death.

“Verdicts that clearly appear not to meet basic fair trial standards, particularly those which impose the death penalty, are likely to undermine prospects for long-term stability,” Ban added.

The United States is “deeply troubled” by the sentence, and has asked the Egyptian government to “end the use of mass trials,” the White House said on Monday.

“Today’s verdict, like the one last month, defies even the most basic standards of international justice. The Egyptian government has the responsibility to ensure that every citizen is afforded due process, including the right to a fair trial in which evidence is clearly presented, and access to an attorney,” the White House added.

Attorney General Hisham Barakat decided Monday to appeal against the verdict which sentenced 37 defendants to death over the incidents in Minya, Youm7 reported.

Additionally reporting by Hossam Mustafa.

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