An Egyptian court has scheduled for the first appeal session for the accused in the ‘Rabaa Operations Room’ trial to be held on 1 October. A total of 38 defendants will appeal against all death and life sentences in the case.
Last March, the Cairo Criminal Court sentenced 12 convicts to death, including the Muslim Brotherhood’s Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie.
Previously, the verdict was criticised by foreign governments and international human rights groups, who described it as “politicised”. Meanwhile, the Egyptian government responded by arguing the independence of Egypt’s judiciary.
Badie and 50 others have been on trial since April 2014, in case number 2210/2014. The case was headed by Judge Nagy Shehata, who is also presiding over four other high-profile cases, including the ‘Cabinet Clashes’ and the former Al Jazeera journalists’ trial. Shehata has been widely criticised for handing our severe sentences with little supporting evidence.
The defendants in the trial were accused of “forming an operations room to direct the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist group to defy the government during the Rabaa [Al-Adaweya] sit-in dispersal, and to spread chaos in the country [by] breaking into police stations, government institutions, private property and churches”.
The prosecution said this took place with the aim of making Egypt appear ungovernable in the eyes of the international community.
Amongst the other defendants in the trial are prominent Muslim Brotherhood members, such as former spokesmen Mahmoud Ghozlan and Gehad El-Haddad. A number of the detainees in the case started a hunger strike, including US citizen Mohamed Soltan who has reportedly been on hunger strike exceeding 300 days.
Currently, Soltan is in the US after being deported following his rescinding of his Egyptian nationality.