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U.S. "pretty shocked" at death sentences against 529 Egyptians

English.news.cn   2014-03-25 06:28:27

WASHINGTON, March 24 (Xinhua) -- The United States said on Monday that it was "pretty shocked" to see 529 supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi sentenced to death in a two-day trial, calling it a move that "defies logic."

"We are deeply concerned, and I would say actually pretty shocked" by the sentencing handed down by an Egyptian criminal court earlier in the day against the defendants, all members of the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization to which Morsi belongs but branded as a terrorist organization by the Egyptian government in December, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said.

"It defies logic that over 529 defendants could be tried in a two-day period in accordance of international standards," Harf added.

The defendants were charged with making assaults on police stations in the upper Egyptian province of Minya in August last year, in which one policeman was killed.

Other charges include breaking into governmental institutions, shooting randomly on security personnel, stealing police weapons, burning police stations, terrorizing local residents and disturbing public peace.

Morsi, the first elected president of Egypt, was ousted by the military in July last year, in a move that has sparked continuing protests by the Muslim Brotherhood across the country with mass killings and injuries incurred.

Morsi himself and thousands of Brotherhood members are on trial on charges of killing protesters, inciting violence and colluding with foreign groups against Egypt's national security.

Harf said the U.S. has continued to urge the Egyptian government to ensure those detained are afforded "fair proceedings that respect civil liberties," advising Cairo against politically- motivated arrests, detentions and convictions.

"We're gathering all the facts and determining what we do going forward," she noted, adding Washington does not want to " completely cut off" the important relationship with the most populous Arab country.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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