Egypt Police Attack – On Monday, Egyptian authorities executed nine men who were convicted of murder during an attack on police station in 2013, stated by security officials and rights lawyers. During the assault in question, 15 people died which included 11 police officers.
According to the officials, the nine men were found guilty of attacking a police station in the town of Kerdasa close to the pyramids at Gaza in 2013, in the aftermath of the military’s ouster of the Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi. According to Associated Press, they spoke on conditions of anonymity since they were not allowed to brief the media.
Egypt is included in the four Middle Eastern countries’ list which consists of the top global executioners in 2020, according to Amnesty International. The most populous country in the Arab world, Egypt held 107 executions last year which was an exponential increase from 32 recorded in 2019, the group stated.
Since Morsi’s removal, Egypt’s government has been fighting Islamist insurgents in the Sinai Peninsula and sometimes the mainland for years now. A group based in northern Sinai Peninsula claims to be part of the Islamic State and has repeatedly targeted Security forces and the Christian minority there. Other low-profile groups targeting security forces are suspected to be off-shoots of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The nine men were part of the 20 men group who were all sentenced to death in 2017 as part of the verdict that came four years after the attack – the country’s worst ever on police. Wadi Natrun prison complex in Nile Delta province of Beheira was the execution ground where the sentenced were hanged to death.
One criminal court, in 2014, sentenced 188 people to death in a case. The verdict was overturned for all except 20 of the defendants who were handed death sentences again during retrial in 2017. Dozens others received life sentences.
Apart from murder, the defendants were also convicted of attempted murder of 10 other policemen, damaging a police station, setting police cars on fire and possessing heavy weapons. Many of the defendants are said to be part of the Muslim Brotherhood group, Egypt’s best-organized opposition movement for decades. The group rose to power after the Arab Spring uprising in 2011 which ended the nearly 30 years of President Hosni Mubarak’s rule.
But Morsi, a senior Brotherhood figure elected in 2012, proved inharmonious and was ousted by the military a year later after mass protests. Since then, the authorities have initiated a crackdown against Islamists and have arrested and detained thousands of people sentencing them to harsh prison terms. The government has also declared the Muslim Brotherhood, a terrorist organization.
The Kerdasa attack happened on the same day that security forces violently cleared two protest camps killing hundreds. The protestors demanded to bring Morsi back into power. Amnesty International’s regional research and advocacy director decried Monday’s executions which he said came after a ‘grossly unfair trial’.