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Mass sentencing in Egypt dismays Berlin

Germany voiced its concern (5 February 2015) over the mass sentencing of 230 people to life imprisonment in Egypt.

A Federal Foreign Office spokesperson in Berlin said, “Once again an Egyptian court has handed down a disproportionately harsh mass sentence to hundreds of defendants, a move which is a serious violation of their right to a fair and proper trial. The German Government urgently calls on the authorities in Egypt to revise the sentences.”

Berlin said “citizens’ trust in the judiciary and the rule of law is a central pillar of every democracy and an important condition for stability and security. It is the task of every government to create the necessary framework conditions to guarantee the legal protection of its citizens.

“This sentence ramps up the atmosphere of political intimidation and repression. This is a bad sign, especially in the run-up to the parliamentary elections due to take place in March.”

The 230 are accused of taking part in clashes between demonstrators and security forces in December 2011, in which 18 people were killed. Reports say 39 minors were also sentenced to ten years in prison.The only accused present at the trial was well-known democracy activist Ahmed Douma. He is currently serving a three-year sentence for violating Egypt’s repressive law on public demonstrations. According to Egyptian criminal law, the maximum sentence is imposed automatically if a sentence is handed down in absentia.

Despite numerous international protests over its poor governance record and human rights abuses, Egypt has carried on regardless with its controversial conduct. In Cairo there’s an air of confidence that Egypt’s strategic geopolitical importance and a long history of past international mistreatment of Egypt — available to invoke in times of need — protect it from any serious international attempts at punitive measures or sanctions.

Author: Editor

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