CAIRO: Foreign statements on Egypt’s judiciary reflect “major double standards and selectivity,” and “disrespect” for separation of powers, the State Information Service (SIS) said in a Friday statement.
Condemnations of mass trials in Egypt have been frequent; most recently, 230 people were sentenced to life and 39 minors to 10 years. Of the defendants, only activist Ahmed Doma is jailed, a judicial source told Anadolu News Agency.
“The defendants were tried before a [civilian] court and a [civilian] judge; in addition to that all defendants may challenge the sentences,” SIS said.
Those tried in absentia will be retried once they appear at the court. The U.S., the European Union, Amnesty International and several local human rights organizations and parties slammed the sentence.
SIS noted “suspicious international silence” towards other countries that “claim to be “democracies” as they arrest people for many years “without a trial or indictment.”
The defendants were charged with illegal assembly, possessing bladed weapons, Molotov cocktails, assaulting security forces, torching the Institut d’Égypte, damaging the Cabinet, the Shura Council and the People’s Assembly. They were fined by their controversial judge 17 million EGP ($2.5 million) for the damages.
SIS argued that commenting on judicial rulings represents “prejudice” to the independence of the judiciary.
The EU called on Egypt to “respect [its] international obligations, and ensure the right to a fair trial.”
“Mass trials and sentences run counter to the most basic democratic principles and due process under the law,” said the U.S. Department of State spokesperson Jen Paski Wednesday in the daily press briefing.
Amnesty International labeled the trial “unfair,” and called for revoking all the sentences.