CAIRO: The Minya Criminal Court upheld Tuesday death sentences in absentia to eight Muslim Brotherhood supporters for violence-related charges, a judicial source told Youm7 Tuesday.
The court also sentenced 77 other defendants to life in prison while 29 others were sentenced to jail terms ranging from 10 to 15 years each in the same case, according to the source.
The defendants faced numerous charges including rioting, joining the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group and assaulting police and military institutions and personnel in Upper Egypt’s governorate of Minya following the dispersal of sit-ins at Rabaa al-Adaweya and Nahda squares in August 2013.
Meanwhile, five defendants were acquitted of the said charges. The verdicts are still subject to appeal.
The Tuesday death sentences were issued in August and were confirmed after approval from Egypt’s Grand Mufti Shawky Allam; a common judicial measure for death penalties that is not binding in court.
According to Egypt’s penal code, defendants who are tried in absentia receive the maximum sentence possible. However, when they appear in court, they are automatically retried.
Egypt’s mass death sentences have been slammed by local and international human rights organizations and governments, but state officials have reiterated that the judiciary is independent and that they cannot interfere in its rulings.