White House, UN 'Troubled' by Death Verdicts in Egypt

The United States is "deeply troubled" by an Egypt court's death sentence for the
leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and hundreds of supporters, the White House said on Monday, condemning the country's use of mass trials.

"Today's verdict, like the one last month, defies even the most basic standards of international justice. The Egyptian government has the responsibility to ensure that every citizen is afforded due process, including the right to a fair trial in which evidence is clearly presented, and access to an attorney," the White House said in a statement.

"We urge the Egyptian government to end the use of mass trials, reverse this and previous mass sentences, and ensure that every citizen is afforded due process."

Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has expressed alarm over reports an Egyptian court issued death sentences to supporters of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

In a statement Monday, Ban said "verdicts that clearly appear not to meet basic fair trial standards, particularly those which impose the death penalty, are likely to undermine prospects for long-term stability."

An Egyptian woman mourns after a judge sentenced to death 683 alleged supporters of the countrys ousted Islamist president over acts of violence and the murder of policemen in the latest mass trial in the southern city of Minya, Egypt on April 28, 2014. /AP An Egyptian woman mourns after a judge sentenced to death 683 alleged supporters of the country's ousted Islamist president over acts of violence and the murder of policemen in the latest mass trial in the southern city of Minya, Egypt on April 28, 2014. /AP

The case is linked to deadly riots that erupted in Minya and elsewhere in Egypt after security forces violently disbanded protests held by Brotherhood supporters last August.

The Brotherhood said in a statement that it would continue all peaceful means to end military rule in the country.

Last month, the same court sentenced 529 defendants to death on the same charges in a trial that lasted only two days, drawing international criticism over whether the proceedings were fair.

Egypt's interim authorities have cracked down on the Brotherhood, labeling it a terrorist group and arresting many of its leaders. 

Also Monday, judicial officials say a court has banned a pro-democracy movement that helped ignite the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak in 2011. 

The court ruled the April 6 youth movement damaged the image of the country.

VOA News / Apr. 29, 2014 07:52 KST