As we see the news this morning on the G8, the nuclear top and flight MH370, another piece of news is largely ignored. As the news hit me, I was left with the impression of an injustice of massive proportions. When we look at any issue involving the Muslim Brotherhood and Israel, I tend to take the side of Israel every time. Some will call me biased, yet I think that people forget that Israel is a nation that has been under attack since the day it was founded. That changes a lot of perspectives. Yet, what is happening in Egypt at present is very disconcerting. I believe that former President Morsi made large mistakes and some acts might be regarded as ‘un-Egyptian’. The result was that he was deposed a president of Egypt. What is happening at present is too extreme to accept.
The NOS reported last night that 529 Morsi supporters had been convicted to death. The news was also on Sky News (at http://www.skynews.com.au/topstories/article.aspx?id=960966). It does not just stop there, when we consider the following quote “Of the 529, only 153 are in custody. The rest were tried in their absence and have the right to a retrial if they turn themselves in“. How is this ‘a good thing’? I am no Muslim Brotherhood supporter. They have had too many terrorist ties (specifically terrorists out to end Israel) and as such I will not take their side. Can anyone who believes in the law and in justice of any kind see this as justice in any way shape or form?
Egypt is not a common law nation. It is like many other nations ruled by a civil code, in this case the Egyptian Civil Code, which is based on the French civil law model. They used the foundations and skipped the ‘Crime Passional’ part I reckon (Egyptians tend to get way too passionate about their religion).
I did not study Civil Law, so it is hard to find any legal premise in these events, yet, if I take the information by Amnesty International where it is stated that the death penalty in Egypt is currently reserved for crimes under anti-terrorism legislation, as well as ‘premeditated murder, rape and drug related offences‘. We have a first impression that the 529 sentenced to death is not only illegal; it seems to be unlawful by Egyptian standards too. We see an additional quote at http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/egypt-more-500-sentenced-death-grotesque-ruling-2014-03-24. The quote “Egypt’s courts are quick to punish Mohamed Morsi’s supporters but ignore gross human rights violations by the security forces. While thousands of Morsi’s supporters languish in jail, there has not been an adequate investigation into the deaths of hundreds of protesters. Just one police officer is facing a prison sentence, for the deaths of 37 detainees” is an added dimension.
It is not just the sheer numbers, the fact that the Egyptian court is faced with the setting of premeditated murder. That is near impossible to prove from either the police or protesters side. In any heated demonstration things will happen and there will always be the fear of escalation. That in itself forms some version of absence of premeditation in any death. These protesters are not innocent, that is decently clear. Yet, the leap from battery or even grievous bodily harm is a long leap from premeditated murder. That is a fact in nearly every court, civil or common law based.
If we take another look at the terrorism angle, of which the Muslim Brotherhood had been accused in several events, it is perhaps easier to take a look at the US code (for common law purposes). I took a look at U.S. Code § 2656f where I found the following: “(2) the term ‘terrorism’ means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents;”
It reads a little ambiguous. From this definition, any religious rally that gets out of hand and where a fatality falls might apply. This rule could apply to the KKK or a Westboro Baptist Church rally. The list goes on and on. From what I have read, the people of the Westboro Baptist church are not overly gifted with academic intelligence, yet that does not make them terrorists. The Muslim Brotherhood could fall in the same category. They have been seen as terrorists in their acts, support and assistance against Israel. Their protest against the deposing of former President Morsi might not be seen as such an act.
It is still possible that some elements in these events were less innocent, yet that is not evidence of guilt. Judging 529 people to death in these matters, in a trial, that according to the press lasted less than an hour, with hundreds of them in absentia. The case gets an even weirder dimension when we consider the following quote (from the Guardian): “A judge in southern Egypt has taken just two court sessions to sentence to death 529 supporters of Mohamed Morsi for the murder of a single police officer“, not only is this about the issue of injustice, this is a verdict involving the death of one person, which makes this trial illegal and unjust as the reality of the matter is that at least 520 people are unlikely to have interacted with this one police officer. In a time setting where we saw how police officers were firing on protesters, killing around 30 people and wounding over 100 people, 500 are sentenced for the death of one police officer, how is this legal or just?
As stated before, I am no fan of the Muslim Brotherhood, but to act with such a lack of legality is unacceptable. In the end this could backfire on the Egyptian government when these 529 people end up becoming martyrs to millions of Muslim Brotherhood supporters.