CAIRO – In the first reaction to mass death sentence issued by an Egyptian court on Monday, April 28, to demand death penalty to Muslim Brotherhood elderly leader and 682 other alleged Islamists, Swedish Foreign Minister wrote on Twitter that the mass trials were an "outrage", calling for an urgent world reaction.
“Another mass trial outrage in Egypt with 549 people sentenced to death. The world must and will react,” Carl Bildt wrote on Twitter early on Monday, immediately after the court death sentences.
Bildt angry comment followed a verdict by a Minya court in south Egypt to sentence Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie and 682 other alleged Islamists to death.
The court presiding judge, Said Yousef Sabry, sentenced an earlier batch of 529 defendants to death in just two sessions last March 24.
The second batch, including Badie, had faced charges of the murder and attempted murder of several policemen during rioting by Morsi supporters in Minya on August 14.
Of the 683 accused, about 50 are in custody while the rest are either out on bail or on the run.
Egypt’s death sentences in this month were said to exceed the whole world within the same period.
"In a month, Egypt sentences more people to death than the rest of the world combined. It is not the kind of news to rekindle confidence," Angus Blair, chairman of business and economic forecasting think-tank Signet, also wrote on Twitter.
The official website of the Muslim Brotherhood said Morsi's son, Osama, attended Monday's court session. It quoted him for Badie's reaction after the death sentence was read out.
"If they hung us a thousand times God will never detract from what it is right," Badie reportedly shouted. "We will not tremble because death in the name of Allah is faith. May Allah accept."
Egypt has been thrown into turmoil after Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected president, was toppled by the powerful military last July after massive protests against his regime.
The Muslim Brotherhood, from which Morsi hails, has vowed to continue in peaceful protests until the Islamist president is reinstated.
There has since been a severe crackdown on his Muslim Brotherhood group, as well as on other activists seen as hostile to the military-backed interim government.
Last December, the Brotherhood was declared a terrorist organization after which the authorities started punishing any public show of support for it.
In an expected reaction, Turkish President Abdullah Gül denounced the court rulings, saying they are "incomprehensible, unbelievable and impossible to accept."
"Egypt needs stability, peace and rapid economic development. Therefore, I hope these sentences will not be executed and all the prisoners are released," Gül said at a press conference with his German counterpart, Joachim Gauck, in Ankara, Today’s Zaman reported.
Gül added that such rulings "harm" Egypt's future as well.
During his news conference with Gül, German President Gauck also said the decision of the Egyptian court was incomprehensible and "worrying" for EU countries.
The Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç has also condemned the ruling, urging the US and European Union member countries to strongly raise their voices against mass death sentences.
“All countries, particularly the US and EU member countries, should also object to the death penalties,” Arınç said.
“People being sentenced to death and the fact that they are about to be executed is not only a disgrace for Egypt,” said Arınç, adding that the silence of other countries which do not object to this decision and don't speak out against the administration over these sentences was very grave.
“I hope the Egyptian authorities will renounce this grave wrongdoing,” added Arınç.
On the other hand, Effat El-Sadat, the president of Sadat Democratic Party, has praised today’s death sentence.
“The court has applied law and issued harsh sentences on the defendants within the law framework to assure the Egyptian people that blood for blood and they will not be silent on terrorism crimes,” he told El-Wafd daily.
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