Mumia Abu Jamal on the 528 death sentences handed down in Egypt

Death Row Record

In a trial that may be unprecedented anywhere in the world, an Egyptian military court recently returned 528 death sentences to many supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood. In what is seen as the latest attempt to destroy the group, the military government held the mass trial over two days in the city of Minya.

Amnesty International’s Mid East and North Africa Deputy Director Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, in a report issued earlier in the week, called it ‘the largest single batch of simultaneous death sentences’ seen in recent years. Sahraoui said the Egyptian death sentences issued, in one day, surpassed what some countries have rendered in a year.

The military government’s war against the Brotherhood – which began with the removal, arrest and prosecution of President Mohammed Morsi – has now reached down into its membership.

The group once led by Morsi has deep roots in Egyptian society. It was founded in 1928 by an elementary schoolteacher, Hassan al-Banna, who called for a non-political, religious organization to ‘cleanse’ Egyptian society by a return to Islamic principals. The group opposed the introduction of foreign, European influences in Egyptian society.

The Brotherhood may have begun as a non-political group, but it has faced decades of political repression from various governments; from Anwar Sadat to Hosni Mubarak. Today, under the military government, we see a quasi military operation against them using the judiciary as a tool – or better, a weapon – to destroy them.

Mubarak may no longer be in power, but his anti-Brotherhood program continues. Hundreds of death sentences and a complete ban against the group that has existed longer than Egypt’s government has been independent.

It seems to me the war ain’t over.

From Imprisoned Nation, this is Mumia Abu Jamal.

(Photo credit: Jennifer Beach/Prison Radio)

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