CAIRO: Judge Saeed Youssef, head of the Minya Criminal Court, adjourned five trials of 67 Muslim Brotherhood members and supporters to sessions in August and October to issue verdicts or hear witnesses, Youm7 reported.
Youssef is the judge who sentenced 37 Brotherhood supporters in April to death for raiding a police station and killing a police officer in August 2014. He also sentenced 183 others, including the Brotherhood’s Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie, on June 21 to death for raiding another police station and killing another officer in Minya.
Observers described the two cases as “hasty” and “lacking the aspects of a fair trial,” as the court did not hear the defense team or witnesses.
The 67 defendants, although involved in separate cases, face similar charges: illegal assembly, blocking roads and disrupting public order, according to Youm7.
Minya has witnessed much violence, sectarianism and damage to public and private property after the dispersal of Rabaa al-Adaweya sit-in that killed hundreds of former President Mohamed Morsi’s supporters on Aug. 14, 2013. As the sit-in was being forcibly dispersed in Cairo, several people were being killed, police stations were being raided, and churches were burned down in Minya.
Although President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi is constitutionally entitled to pardon convicts, and amid rising calls to use this right, he made it clear in a Tuesday speech at a Military Academy Graduation ceremony that he would not.
“We will not intervene in the affairs of the judiciary because it is independent. If we earnestly seek a state of institutions, we must respect judicial rulings,” Sisi said.