Egypt Shocks the World with Plan for Mass Execution of 528 Muslim Brothers

(By Juan Cole)

An Egyptian court in the provincial center of El Minya on Monday shocked the world by sentencing 528 persons to death in the killing of a policeman and engaging in vandalism last August. Only 147 of the suspects are actually in custody. The rest were sentenced in absentia.

The accused were seen as having resorted to violence in August after the military used brutal methods to clear the area in front of the Rabi`a al-Adawiyyah Mosque in Nasr City, Cairo, of Muslim Brotherhood protesters. Several hundred were killed. The Egyptian government maintains that they were behaving violently, going on a kidnapping and murder spree. The Brotherhood activists had been complaining about the July 3, 2013, military coup, which deposed and jailed President Muhammad Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected president. Morsi was seen as moving the pieces in place for establishment of a one-party fundamentalist state, against which activist youth demonstrated with a “day of rage.”

Among Middle Eastern countries, the most execution happy is Iran, with over 300 a year. With just one trial, Egypt has made itself more Draconian than Iran.

The procedure of the trial was criticized, insofar as the court was only in session twice and one of those meetings was Monday when sentencing occurred.

The verdict attracted criticism. The Strong Egypt Party of liberal Muslim Abdel Moneim Abou’l-Futouh (who broke with the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1990s over their hard line) said that it had lost confidence in the judiciary. Strong Egypt had supported the popular overthrow of Morsi but opposed military rule and joined the “Third Square” movement.

Amnesty International called the verdict “grotesque.”

Defending it is the Rebellion Youth Movement (Tamarrud), who said Americans should butt out and mind their own business. A knee-jerk anti-Americanism has characterized the movement since the announcement last summer that the Obama administration had suspended aid to Egypt because of the change of government.

The verdict will make more difficult’s current task of trying to convince Congress to renew aid to Egypt despite the change in government, which Obama has not called a “Coup.”

The verdict will be appealed. Although the death penalty is fairly common in Egypt, actual executions are far more rare.

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Related video:

Euronews: “Fear of more violence in Egypt after landmark Brotherhood verdicts”

22 Responses

  1. Your headline declaring all those sentenced to be members of the Muslim Brotherhood plays into the governments framework that justifies such acts.

  2. Actually I hear only about 30 are actually MB members. The rest are either non affiliated attackers or just random people they picked up in the same general area. Probably most were in the last category and had nothing to do with either the MB or violence.

    It’s also rather rich that Tamerod is now bitching about American aid cuts. Back in the day their next petition was going to be about demanding the government stop taking American aid. I guess that one died off about the same time they became the official brown-shirts of the Egyptian military, haha.

    • The way we do it here in the US. Much more logical and appropriate than in a bunch. In the meantime, let’s make sure “we” keep sending war toys and money to the KleptoBrass that apparently own the country… as part of the Global Intention To Liberally Spread Liberal Democracy. Neo-liberal, at least…

      • What do you suppose would be the effect of cutting off the war toys and money being sent to the Egyptians? Might it have an effect on the Israelis’ calculations of their own interests?

        • Worry about the Likudniks, yes, do, who if one looks close, are only “Israel” because chutzpah, and somewhere between 200 and 600 nuclear weapons, and those German-built sneaky subs with their sub-launched missiles, link to nation.time.com, under the command of a creature that has already proven ready “in its interests” to destroy US naval ships at sea, link to gtr5.com.

          And the Likudniks would do what? Another 6 Days War? So the best our Empire can do for “peace” is keep feeding the worldwide militaristic beast with “contracts” for F-16s and crowd-control materiel and munitions from the Empire’s vast and growing post-national trans-boundary “Defence Syndicate?” Isn’t one reason that “things are the way they are” the idiotic long-term “consideration and priority” given by our muscle-bound military-“policy” brute to the personification labeled “Israel,” and commitment to an eventual unitary global military command regardless of local political boundaries and traditions? Leading to popular imagery and “policy” like the “wise ideas” peddled here: link to nationalguard.mil ? Yeah, that’s it — gotta keep sending US-taxpayer-bought arms and US “experts” all over the place to ensure the ascendancy of the Global Interoperable Network-Centric Enormous Profit-Opportunity-and-Instability-Generating Thingie. Emphasize Interoperability, which “we” are still pursuing with the Egyptian junta, so our Commands can “deploy and control” local forces. Because it’s worked so well, to date… link to washingtoninstitute.org

    • Your words condemn you. There was clearly no effort made to determine that these people are, in fact, responsible for anything. That you would kill them without even attempting to determine guilt or innocence is disgraceful, inhuman and wrong.

  3. It is extremely obvious now that the Tamarod movement is riddled with government agents and general supporters of police state politics. The divisions within the movement were brought on by the fact that its revolutionary and semi-revolutionary components opposed the autocratic control Mahmoud Badr is demanding, as well as the obvious and increasingly overt cheerleading of despotism.

    Tamarod may have originally started as an initiative outside of the military/Mubarak economic elite (even that is unclear and may not be the case), but it is not sensible now to doubt that much of its support base, especially post July 3, 2013, came to be thinly disguised fascist cultists, feloul, and corrupt business elites.

    The rifts were an inevitable outcome once the grim reality of the transitional despotism became undeniable.

    The Egyptian junta has astounding echoes of the Chilean military autocracy, particularly in terms of numbers killed and quantity of political prisoners. All that in a much briefer period of time.

    The revolutionary movements need to entirely dump this grotesque government and prepare for operating more forcefully against it, even if that means having to go underground.

  4. Funny how all talk of political inclusivity is entirely gone.. Almost every serious political force outside of the military and former NDP officials is now frozen out of the government, the presidency, the cabinet, and the supposedly coming parliament.

    In comparison to this fascism, the Morsi period was significantly more advanced and capable of accepting opposition.

  5. I can not believe this will be carried out.world pressure will stop it.also it all may be a ploy to scare off dissidents…of course in all cases ,this is terribly wrong

  6. It was kind of obvious by the end of last June that the Tamarod youth were blackshirts. Isn’t asking for military rule the essence of a fascist youth group?
    My guess is that coups that are very popular are more destructive than unpopular ones. When the military, the media, the youth, and the people (in the millions) are all singing the same tune, the results can be horrible.

      • On July 2 2013, The Daily Beast published a piece titled “The 28-Year-Old Face of Egypt Opposition” , which includes the sentence :
        One Tammarod organizer, Hazem el-Zohery, said in an interview that he would consider it a “success” if the Army intervened.

        • So what? I was there in June and *no one* was talking about or asking for a military intervention. It wasn’t what the protest movement was about. That one kid personally liked the idea is totally irrelevant.

  7. Nasser, Sadat, Mubarak, Ikhwan, military – does it matter who is in charge, really? There’s a common theme here over the decades. The names change but the tune remains the same. Sad. But predictable.

  8. The Strong Egypt Party did not support the overthrow of Morsi. They participated in protests of Morsi’s protection of the military and it’s budget, but never supported his overthrow. They denounced the massacre at Rabi’a al Adawiya and oppose the current regime. Their opposition to Morsi’s policies of protecting the military and the current coup regime were probably the most principled of any group in Egypt.

    • Guns, clubs, tear gas and “rubber bullets” trump “prinicple” pretty much any time. On the downward curve toward anomie…

  9. Pretty ugly stuff. What has happened to the Egypt I thought I knew? This is just a recommendation for butchery on a mass scale. Will civil society there ever emerge on top? I fear not in our lifetime.

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