Egypt’s farcical trial that sentenced more than 500 Muslim brotherhood supporters and Islamists for killing a single police officer shows the extreme example of a judicial system gone berserk.
According to New York Times and other reports, the precise charges against each defendant were unclear because they were not read out in court.
The military-led government in Egypt has continued to crack down hard on the ‘Muslim Brotherhood’ following the ouster of Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president, in July 2013.
The nine-month-old interim government has carried on an unrelenting campaign to crush the will of Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s oldest and largest Islamist movement.
The government considers the brotherhood a “terrorist group,” accusing it and other Islamists of attacks on police and soldiers ever since Morsi was deposed.
The mass sentencing exposes a biased judicial system that lacks basic semblance of fairness. The decision to punish Morsi’s supporters by ignoring due legal process will only help to perpetuate mockery of justice system in Egypt.
Reportedly, the verdicts could be overturned on appeal, CNN said. However, the events in Egyptian court highlight the military-led government’s ruthless crackdown against the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamist supporters rallying for Mohamed Morsi.
While the court conveniently sentenced 529 Islamists to death over the killing of one police officer and attempted murder of another, it chose to ignore the militarily establishment’s accountability for the deaths of hundreds of protesters.
What about the murder of thousands of Egyptians who protested the coup and the subsequent arrest and illegal detention of thousands more brotherhood supporters?
According to an AFP report, “At least 1,400 people have been killed in street clashes with security forces since Morsi’s overthrow and more than 200 policemen have died in a burgeoning militant insurgency.”
None of the police or military accused of killing protesters since the uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak in 2011 have been found guilty.
At its worst, the trial had all the ingredients of a vendetta. It only perpetuates the government’s resolve to uproot the brotherhood from the grassroots.
In a broader sense, the sentencing puts to test the credibility of modern judicial process should the world allow the Egyptian judiciary to act at the behest of those who hold power.
With scepticism rising worldwide over the impact of the Arab Spring in the Middle East and the possibility of Islamic nations entrenched in military dictatorship experimenting with notions of democracy, the enmasse death sentencing will only strengthen the scepticism.
The farce inside Egyptian courts only helps to establish the scepticism that Egypt is heading towards anything but democracy and the rule of law.
Egyptians are on the verge of losing their greatest achievement from the revolution –the prospect of dissent against tyranny.
Undoubtedly, the passing events in Egypt’s political landscape represent a tug-of-war between its religious and military establishments, indicating that only a select few at the top decide the destiny of Egyptians.
No doubt the sentencing has triggered a global outcry against the verdict from a large section of the legal community in Egypt, as well as from human rights groups abroad.
It’s about time for the international community to seriously question the mass condemnation of Morsi supporters. The trial is shocking and unprecedented, and perpetuates inhumane and blatant violation of all norms of humane and legal justice.
*Sources linked to within text.
Abdul Kuddus is a Delhi based passionate blogger and works at Tata Consultancy Services. He is a learning solutions consultant by profession and has been writing for different websites.
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