Egypt upholds death penalties against 20 for 'violence'

CAIRO (AA) – Egypt's Court of Cassation on Monday upheld death sentences against 20 people convicted earlier for committing “acts of violence” in the wake of the country’s 2013 military coup.

According to Egypt’s official MENA news agency, the Court of Cassation (the country’s highest appellate court) rejected an appeal filed by the defendants in the case publicly known as the “Kerdasa massacre”.

In July of last year, a criminal court sentenced the 20 defendants to death for their alleged role in the incident, in which demonstrators attacked a police station in the village of Kerdasa west of capital Cairo.

The incident occurred immediately after the ouster and imprisonment of Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first freely-elected president, in a military coup.

On Monday, the Court of Cassation upheld the death sentences handed down last year against the 20 defendants.

The same court also upheld life imprisonment sentences handed down against 80 other individuals convicted in the same case, along with 15-year jail terms for 34 other defendants.

In 2015, a court sentenced more than 150 people to death in connection with the violence in Kerdasa, but those sentences were later overturned and a retrial ordered.

Egypt was roiled by years of unrest following Morsi’s ouster in 2013, during which the Egyptian authorities launched a relentless crackdown on dissent, killing hundreds and throwing thousands behind bars.

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