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Prosecution reviews mass death sentences

The North Minya public prosecutor said that a team from the prosecution is studying the rulings made by Judge Saeed Youssef, privately owned Al-Masry Al-Youm reported on Tuesday. 

Youssef sentenced 37 alleged Muslim Brotherhood members to death and handed down life sentences to another 491 in a case accusing them of storming a police station and killing one policeman. On the same day, Youssef sentenced 683 alleged Muslim Brotherhood supporters to death in another case on similar charges. The case has been sent to the Grand Mufti for his procedural opinion. 

In a statement, Abdel Rahim Abdel Malek, the Minya public prosecutor, said the review of the rulings is a normal practice following any death penalty verdict. According to him, the review looks into the legal references used in the ruling, particularly from the Penal Code. A report is then sent to the Court of Cassation. 

Malek added that the prosecutor’s role is to represent society and uphold justice. 

The review comes amidst international condemnation of the court rulings, as well as condemnation from local human rights organizations. 

In Minya, families of the defendants received the rulings with shock, with some families casting doubt on the whole legal process. Privately owned Al-Shorouk newspaper reported one mother as saying that her son received a life sentence in the case, despite the fact that he had died three years earlier, and thus, could not have been involved in the incident. Her two other sons, who are still alive and who are being tried in the same case, received the death sentence. 

The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights also documented that two of the defendants were in Libya when the attack on the police station took place. 

Meanwhile, Mohamed Badie, who also received the death sentence as one of the 683 defendants, pledged not to change his position despite the ruling. According to the state-owned Middle East News Agency, Badie, who was present at the Shubra Criminal Court for another case brought against him, chanted against military rule and said he is ready to die for the sake of God, despite the unjust rulings. 

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