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UN urges Egypt to reverse 'unfair trial' death sentences

By AFP - Sep 09,2018 - Last updated at Sep 09,2018

GENEVA — An Egyptian court's confirmation of 75 death sentences was not based on a fair trial and should be reversed to avoid an "irreversible miscarriage of justice", the UN said on Sunday.

New UN Rights Chief, Michelle Bachelet said the confirmation of 75 death sentences handed down by the Cairo criminal court on Saturday were the result of "an unfair trial", warning that if implemented it would "represent a gross and irreversible miscarriage of justice".

Bachelet added in a statement: "I hope that the Egyptian court of appeal will review this verdict and ensure that international standards of justice are respected by setting it aside."

The convicted include prominent Islamist leaders, Essam Al Erian and Mohamed Beltagi over a 2013 sit-in, which 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.

It was the single most deadly incident in unrest which followed the 2011 popular uprising that toppled Egypt's long-time leader, Hosni Mubarak.

It occurred weeks after the military ousted Egypt's 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".

Those sentenced to jail included a US citizen, Moustafa Kassem, rights group, Pretrial Rights International said. Washington is Cairo's closest Western ally and one of its top aid donors.

The decision can be appealed within 60 days.

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