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AU urged to look into new Egypt death sentences

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood has provided the African Union with new evidence regarding Cairo court's mass death sentences
The highest number of death penalties issued by an Egyptian court in this way (AFP)

The international legal team of Egypt's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) has provided the African Union's Commission on Human and People's Rights with documents regarding the mass death sentencing of hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters by a Cairo court.    

The evidence was submitted on behalf of the 683 new detainees who have been sentenced to death in Egypt on Monday by the same Court that had already sentenced 529 people to death on 22 March.

"The dispensation of 1,212 death sentences is the highest number of death penalties issued by a court in this way…It can no longer be acceptable for the international community to turn a blind eye to many well documented criminal acts being carried out by the Egyptian interim authority," said Tayab Ali, of the law firm that represents the FJP.

The African Commission, which is part of the African Union, had previously ordered the interim Egyptian government to suspend the March penalties of 529 people.

The "number of people allegedly sentenced to death is the highest recorded in the recent past from a single mass trial", wrote the African Commission.

All of the defendants are accused of attacking police stations and involvement in other acts of violence in Minya. The verdicts, however, have sparked an outcry both in and outside Egypt.

On Monday, an African diplomat told Anadolu Agency that "the news of mass trials and death penalties will not be received well and go without continental condemnation".

Egypt's army-backed authorities have launched a massive crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood since elected president Mohamed Morsi's ouster by the army last July.

In the eight months since, thousands of the groups' members and sympathizers have been arrested and convicted of multiple charges.

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