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Egyptian court sentences 8 to death, 50 to life in police station storming case

The Cairo Criminal Court sentenced 8 defendants accused of storming the Helwan Police Station in 2013 to death on Tuesday, over two months after they were given a preliminary sentence on 29 July, while another 50 defendants in the case were handed life sentences.

Seven other defendants in the case were given 10-year sentences by the court and a further 3 received 5-year sentences.

The case dates back to August 14, 2013, when the Helwan Police Station was stormed in the aftermath of the violent dispersal of the Rabea al-Adaweya and Al-Nahda sit-ins, killing three officers, three citizens and injuring 19 others. The defendants are accused of the killings and of burning down the police station as well as destroying other public buildings and police vehicles.

The death sentences, which were given on the World Day Against the Death Penalty, follow a review of the preliminary sentence announced last July by Egypt’s grand mufti.

The defendants on death-row were identified as Abdel Moneim Mahrous, Al-Mohamadi Mohamed, Ali Abdel Tawab, Hussein Rashad, Mohamed Moustafa, Nagi Ali, Mahmoud Hamdy and Mohamed Sadeq.

The ruling is subject to appeal at Egypt’s Court of Cassation.

Hundreds of defendants suspected of supporting former president Mohamed Morsi or of belonging to the banned Muslim Brotherhood organization have been handed death sentences since the former president’s ousting in 2013.

Many of these sentences were overturned on appeal, but at least five were upheld, including military court rulings against: six defendants in the case of the Arab Sharkas cell in May 2015; seven defendants implicated in the Kafr al-Sheikh Stadium case; against two in the case known as the “Qaed Ibrahim incident” on charges including assaulting police personnel leading to the death of a policeman in a series of incidents that took place in downtown Alexandria; against 20 people in the Kerdasa case; and against Adel Habara, who was accused of killing 25 soldiers in North Sinai in 2014. Habara was executed in December 2016.

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