Egypt’s Supreme State Security Criminal Court Saturday sentenced to death 10 Muslim Brotherhood members who were “convicted of forming armed terrorist groups to carry out hostile operations against police facilities and personnel.”
State news agency Middle Eastern News Agency (MENA) reported on the verdict on Sunday. According to MENA, the defendants, whose identities and pleas have not been disclosed, had formed a group called the “Helwan Brigades.” The group had plotted an attack on the police and sought to destroy power lines and transformers as part of a larger plan to overthrow the government.
Pursuant to Egypt’s criminal law, death sentences are referred to the Grand Mufti, Egypt’s top religious authority, before the court confirms the verdict. The Grand Mufti’s decision is non-binding. The court will convene to confirm the sentences in June. Verdicts of the court can be appealed by review by the Court of Cassation, Egypt’s top court, but the grounds for appeal are limited to questions of law.
The Muslim Brotherhood, a religious-political organization founded in 1928, seeks the Islamification of all spheres of society. The Muslim Brotherhood was banned by an Egyptian court in 2013 after Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected president, was ousted by the army. The court ordered for the organization’s assets to be frozen and all spin-off groups to be banned.
The verdict exemplifies the proliferation of death penalties in Egypt. Amnesty International has reported that Egypt is the world’s third most frequent executioner, second only to China and Iran.