CAIRO: The revocation of death sentences of 37 Muslim Brotherhood supporters and life sentences of 491 others were recommended by the prosecution in a memo presented to the Court of Cassation Tuesday.
The Court of Cassation, the highest judicial body in Egypt, will either uphold the sentences or order a retrial Jan. 24 on charges of raiding a police station in the Upper Egyptian governorate of Minya and murdering an officer in August 2013, Youm7 reported. Death sentences are challenged by the prosecution as a matter of procedure.
A number of amateur videos captured different scenes from that day, which The Cairo Post has posted below, however we are unable to independently verify their authenticity.
Angry Brotherhood mob torches and loots Matay police station
The 528 defendants, the majority of whom are tried in absentia, were sentenced to death, but the judge, Saeed Sabry, commuted most of the verdicts to a life sentence after Grand Mufti Shawqi Allam advised the court to limit executions to prime murderers. Sabry was later removed from the Minya Criminal Court.
Capital punishment is traditionally referred to the Grand Mufti for his religious opinion, although such opinion is non-binding to the judge, and any defendant who was tried in absentia who later appears at court is also automatically retried.
With 12 cases, Egypt ranked 17th out of 82 countries that executed convicts from 2007-2012, according to an Amnesty International report.
What happened in Minya?
Right after the dispersal of the Rabaa al-Adaweya sit-in in which hundreds of demonstrators were killed at the hands of the police Aug. 14, 2013, Brotherhood supporters engaged in wide-scale violence across the country. Minya is reportedly the city that witnessed the most attacks and sectarianism.
After Brotherhood protesters besieged and torched Matay police station, its officers were forced to flee it. Deputy Head of the station Mostafa al-Attar left the station alive, but died at Matay Public Hospital later as an alleged Brotherhood-affiliated doctor refrained from treating him and allowed the mob to raid the hospital. Captain Karim al-Hendawy, who was inside the station, survived the attack after being severely assaulted.
Brotherhood mob attacks Captain Karim el-Hendawy and injured officer Mostafa al-Attar outside Matay police station. Persons filming are heard criticizing the assaults. WARNING: Some violent content. Viewer discretion is advised
Bleeding officer Mostafa al-Attar lies on a hospital bed, surrounded by a mob trying to assault him. An apparent sheikh is heard vehemently trying to persuade the mob to leave Attar alone. WARNING: Some violent content. Viewer discretion is advised.
Some 72 people were killed in Minya, including 15 police officers. Six police stations were burned down and raided, dozens of churches and government facilities were torched and hundreds of private properties belonging to Copts were set on fire, according to a report by the Secretary General of Minya governorate Osama Tamim published by Ahram newspaper on Sept. 3.