Egyptian Court Sentences to Death 13 Anti-regime Opponents

An Egyptian court sentenced 13 anti-regime opponents to death after a retrial for allegedly killing a police officer in 2013, according to Anadolu Agency.

A judicial source said on condition of anonymity due to restrictions to speaking to the media that the Egyptian court referred the 13 defendants to the grand mufti, Egypt’s highest religious authority, to give his religious opinion in the possibility of handing down death sentences against them.

It is expected that the court will confirm the verdict on September 24.

The 13 defendants are part of 23 people accused of killing a senior police officer in the Giza village of Kerdasa in September 2013, after the military coup in 2013 that ousted Egypt’s first democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi.

In 2014, an Egyptian court sentenced 12 defendants to death in the same case, but a higher court ordered a retrial in April of this year after an appeal from the defendants.

The defendants faced an array of charges including attempted murder, arms possession, resisting and attacking the authorities and using unlicensed communication tools to threaten national security.

They were also convicted with forming and managing an illegal terrorist group that aims to carry out unconstitutional activities, prevent state institutions from attending to their duties and attack the freedoms of individuals, among other things.

Since the 2013 coup, Egyptian authorities have launched a massive crackdown on pro- Morsi supporters and his Muslim Brotherhood group, killing hundreds and detaining thousands.