Egypt Sentences 75 To Death- So UN Rights Boss Weighs In

GENEVA (Reuters) – U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet on Sunday urged Egypt’s appeals court to overturn mass death sentences handed down by a lower court after what she said was an “unfair trial” and criticized a law giving immunity to senior security forces.

An Egyptian court on Saturday delivered death sentences to 75 people, including prominent Islamist leaders, over a 2013 sit-in that ended with security forces killing hundreds of protesters.

The sentencing, which included jail terms for more than 600 others, concluded a mass trial of people accused of murder and inciting violence during the pro-Muslim Brotherhood protest at Rabaa Adawiya square in Cairo.

The decision can be appealed within 60 days.

Rabaa square was the single most deadly incident in unrest which followed the 2011 popular uprising that toppled Egypt’s longtime leader Hosni Mubarak.

It occurred weeks after the military ousted Egypt’s first freely elected head of state, Islamist president Mohamed Mursi.

The government says many protesters were armed and that eight members of the security forces were killed.

Rights groups say more than 800 protesters died.

Amnesty International condemned Saturday’s decision, calling the trial “disgraceful”.

If carried out, the sentences “would represent a gross and irreversible miscarriage of justice”, Bachelet said.

Defendants were denied the right to individual lawyers and to present evidence, while “the prosecution did not provide sufficient evidence to prove individual guilt”, Bachelet said in a statement issued on Sunday.

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