Mar. 28 - Human rights advocates and student protesters condemn death penalties handed out by an Egyptian court to more than 500 members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Michaela Cabrera reports.
Condemnation, in the wake of death sentences handed out by an Egyptian court to more than 500 members of the Muslim Brotherhood. The court in Minya sentenced the defendants in absentia, for the killing of a police officer in last year's unrest, which was followed by a deadly crackdown on Brotherhood protesters. The sentences sparked several days of student protests in universities around Cairo. Gamal Eid of the Human Rights Information network, said the ruling speaks of the erosion of rights under the military-backed government that toppled Mohammed Mursi last year. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR ARABIC NETWORK FOR HUMAN RIGHTS INFORMATION, GAMAL EID, SAYING: "This is the strangest verdict in the history of Egypt and the world. No other similar verdict was produced under any regime no matter how oppressive they were. I believe the verdict represents a disaster. No matter how they attempt to rectify such a verdict, whether through appeals or retrying those who were absent; it remains that such a disastrous verdict has been produced, and it will make Egypt look like a joke abroad." But across Egypt, there was support for the harsh sentences. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) EGYPTIAN MAN, MOHAMED AL-SAYYID BADRAN, SAYING: "They deserve the death penalty, they deserve the death penalty, they deserve the death penalty. They destroyed the country, nation and economy." Some can't help but compare the verdict to the treatment of ousted President Hosni Mubarak, who has been freed from prison and put under hospital arrest. None of his officials or army officers were given sentences for the death of hundreds of protesters in the uprising against him.