Save our loved ones, Egypt's Sisi told

2014-05-21 13:54
Egypt's ex-army chief and leading presidential candidate Abdel Fattah al-Sisi during his first television interview since announcing his candidacy in Cairo. (STR, AFP)

Egypt's ex-army chief and leading presidential candidate Abdel Fattah al-Sisi during his first television interview since announcing his candidacy in Cairo. (STR, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

  • Egypt
    This book is jam packed with all the fascinating facts and information you need to know about Egypt. Now R149.00
    buy now
Minya - Relatives of Egyptians sentenced to death in recent mass trials are urging former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, days before an election he is expected to win, to save their loved ones as proof of his commitment to justice.

In April, a judge in the southern governorate of Minya condemned to death the leader of Islamist organisation the Muslim Brotherhood and 682 supporters in connection with the killing of a policeman after the briefest of trials.

The punishment shocked the mother of defendant Yasser Atallah. She was also baffled. She said her son, like other Christians, was deeply distrustful of the Muslim Brotherhood, and backed the army takeover that removed it from power last year.

"He is Christian. We have no relationship with these things," Yasser's mother, who asked not to be named, told Reuters.

Egypt's Western allies and human rights groups who condemned the trials will be watching closely to see if Sisi, who ousted the country's first freely elected president, Mohammed Morsi of the Brotherhood-linked Freedom and Justice Party, after huge protests against his rule, will promote democracy and the rule of law as promised.

The government says it respects the independence of the judiciary and denies accusations that it influences court decisions.

Draconian sentencing

Though some government officials have complained in private about the mass death sentences, Sisi is expected to say he cannot interfere with the judiciary.

The judge in the mass trials cases, Saeed Youssef, has a reputation for draconian sentencing. In 2013, he sentenced a man to 30 years in jail for stealing clothes from a shop and possessing a knife, judicial sources say.

On the same day Attallah learned his fate, judge Youssef affirmed death sentences on 37 others in a separate case.

The rulings were part of a final judgment on 529 Muslim Brotherhood supporters condemned for killing a senior police officer in the town of Matai near Minya.

The violence in Minya came shortly after security forces stormed a pro-Morsi protect camp in Cairo and killed hundreds of people last August.

Almost all police stations were attacked in Minya governorate. Many churches were targeted, too, in response to Christians' backing of Morsi’s ouster.

The biggest mass trials in Egypt's modern history reinforced fears that the authorities were again using all levers of power to crush dissent, three years after hopes of greater freedom flourished with the toppling of autocrat Hosni Mubarak, who had ruled Egypt for 30 years and kept a tight rein on opponents including the Brotherhood.

Even lawyers at risk

Even defending Islamists can be risky.

Lawyer Ahmed Eid was representing more than 65 defendants in the Matai case, when his wife said he suddenly found himself in jail on charges of attacking a police station. He faces a life sentence.

His wife, Maha Sayed, said the father of two had disagreed with the ouster of Morsi, arguing the Islamist leader should have been given longer for the sake of democracy.

"I will not go and vote," she said. "The government and the country did not give me my rights. My rights have been violated. My husband is detained wrongfully."

She said she is now waiting for the election of a president to right that wrong.

"He will, surely, have a role in appealing the judiciary to be just. If my husband had not been jailed, I would have voted for Sisi."

Others, like Ahmed Zaghloul, whose son Hatem, 17, was sentenced to death along with 36 others, have less faith that Sisi will help, even though he says there are procedural irregularities in his son's case. Hatem should have been tried in juvenile court under Egyptian law, but was not.

Sisi says Egyptians have concluded the Brotherhood has no place in society.

"I fear that Sisi could issue decrees against these people or something," said Morsi supporter Zaghloul, a 55 year-old employee of a state electricity company.

Egypt says the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists are a threat to its security, and the security forces have imprisoned thousands of them.

That in turn has fuelled attacks by Islamist militants that have killed hundreds of police and soldiers.

While many hope the election will begin the long process of returning Egypt to stability after years of turmoil, others fear an enduring legacy of division.

Omar Ahmed, the partially sighted father of Abdullah Omar Ahmed, who is on the run after being accused of a link to the killing of a policeman when he was 17, dismisses the election as a farce.

"I will not vote for anybody. I feel none of them will help me, and it is just a play being acted out. I have hope only in God. Whoever wins, the important thing is to declare my son innocent," said Ahmed, a Morsi supporter.

"My convictions are that I should never vote for Sisi because he wronged me."
Read more on:    mohammed morsi  |  abdel fattah al-sisi  |  egypt  |  north africa  |  egypt elections 2014
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Get fit on a budget

It’s time to throw the “I can’t afford to exercise” excuse out the window.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Tips for paddling your first Dusi
Climbing the world’s largest stone arch
Awesome extreme sports people
Watch: 2015 Absa Cape Epic route

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Logistics Scheduler

Cape Winelands
Helderberg Personnel cc
R10 000 - R14 000 Per Month

Retail and Commercial Leasing Consultant

Western Cape
The Prestige Personnel Agency
R10 000 - R15 000 Per Month

Financial Manager

Cape Town Northern Suburbs
Quantex Executive Recruitment

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

Deal of the week!

Save R1200 on the Samsung 48” smart full HD LED television now only R8799. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be in the mood to philosophize and socialize and expand your mind on various discussions and group activities. You could...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.