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World

AFP
September 12, 2018

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EU condemns Egypt’s mass death sentence

BRUSSELS: The European Union on Tuesday condemned death sentences passed on 75 people in Egypt, saying there were "serious doubts" over whether the defendants had been given a fair trial.

An Egyptian court on Saturday confirmed the sentences, initially passed in July over clashes in 2013 between security forces and supporters of ousted president Mohamed Mursi, prompting criticism from the UN and rights campaigners.

A spokesperson for the EU’s diplomatic service reiterated the bloc’s "opposition to capital punishment in all circumstances".

"The circumstances of this mass trial cast serious doubts on the respect of due process and in particular the defendants’ rights to a fair trial," the spokesperson said in a statement. Some 739 defendants were tried together, most of them charged with killing police and vandalising property. Nearly 350 were given 15-year sentences and another 47 jailed for life.

Award-winning photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid, who was arrested as he covered the clashes that turned into a bloodbath, was given a five-year sentence. The EU said it was relieved he would soon be freed, based on time already served behind bars, but warned that the conditions for his release "appear not to be in line with Egypt’s constitution and international obligations".

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