FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Between the Nuremberg Trials and the “Glorious” Egyptian Judiciary

“We are proud of Egypt’s glorious judiciary system.”

Field Marshal Abdelfattah Sisi, leader of Egypt’s Military Coup


The Nuremberg Trials
(in Nuremberg, Germany)

Charges: Wars of Aggression, War Crimes, Crimes against Humanity.

Number of Victims Declared by the Prosecution at Trial: At least 40 million in Europe alone.

Judges (4): British, American, French, Soviet
Trial Period: November 20, 1945 – October 1, 1946 (316 days)

Number of Court Sessions: 38 full days

Number of People Accused: 23 (Over 200 Nazi leaders were later tried at Nuremberg.)

Number of Accused Convicted: 20

Number of Accused Condemned to Death: 12

 

The Minya Trials (in el-Minya, Egypt)

Charges: Storming a police station, killing a police officer, rioting, and mass protests in el-Minya (75 miles south of Cairo) in the aftermath of the massacres at Raba’a Al-Adawiyya Mosque and Al-Nahdha Square in Cairo on August 14, 2013, that killed over 1,000 protesters by the army and security officers.

Number of Victims Declared by the Prosecution at Trial: 1 (A police officer.)

Judges (3): Led by presiding judge Said Youssef Sabri.
[Sabri is the same judge that acquitted all officials and police officers accused of killing about two-dozen protesters in the Bani Swaif region in Upper Egypt during the 18 revolutionary days after the January 25, 2011 mass protests.]

Trial Period: March 22-24, 2014 (2 days)

Number of Court Sessions: 2 (totaling 100 minutes)
[The first session on Mar. 22 lasted for 45 minutes where the indictment was officially presented. The second session was on Mar. 24, where the accused were sentenced. It lasted less than one hour.]

Number of People Accused: 545

Number of the Accused Identified as Members of the MB: 122

Number of the Accused Not Identified as Members of the MB: 423

Number of Pages of Police Investigations turned over by the Prosecution to the Judge and Defense Teams on the first day of trial on Mar. 22: Over 14,000.

Number of Government Witnesses Heard by the Judges: 1

(A police officer was the only government witness to offer testimony at trial but was not allowed to be cross-examined.)

Number of Defendants Attending the Trial: 128

Number of Defendants Arraigned by the Presiding Judge: 51

(The remaining 77 were at trial with the other defendants in a cage but were not even acknowledged by the presiding judge.)

Number of Defense Lawyers for all defendants allowed to Attend the Trial by the Presiding Judge: Less than three dozen (many others not allowed)

Number of Witnesses Offered by the Defense Teams: Hundreds

Number of Defense Witnesses Allowed by the Presiding Judge to Testify: None

Number of the Accused Condemned to Death: 529 (including all the defendants attending the trial)

Number of the Accused Condemned to Death but Identified by Defense Lawyers as already Dead before the August Protests: At least 3

Number of the Accused Condemned to Death but Identified by Defense Lawyers as Being Outside Egypt during the August Protests: At least 5

Number of the Accused Condemned to Death but Identified by Defense Lawyers as Minors during the August Protests (it’s unconstitutional to sentence a minor to death in Egypt): At least 2

But what have been the reactions over the death sentences?

(Note the weak reaction and lack of condemnation or outrage by the US and EU.)

Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs: The death sentences were “only the first verdict in the trial process…It was reached after careful study of the case.”

Marie Harf, a State Department spokeswoman: “It simply does not seem possible that a fair review of evidence and testimony, consistent with international standards, could be accomplished. [I]t’s an important relationship [with Egypt]…so we don’t want to completely cut off the relationship…”

Catherine Ashton, Foreign Policy Chief of the European Union: “It was with utmost concern that I learnt that the court in Minya in southern Egypt sentenced 529 Muslim Brotherhood supporters to death. Notwithstanding the serious nature of the crimes for which they were convicted, capital punishment can never be justified.”

Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East Director at Human Rights Watch: “It’s shocking even amid Egypt’s deep political repression that a court has sentenced 529 people to death without giving them any meaningful opportunity to defend themselves. The Minya court failed to carry out its most fundamental duty to assess the individual guilt of each defendant, violating the most basic fair trial right. These death sentences should be immediately quashed.”

Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Program Director at Amnesty International: “This is the largest single batch of simultaneous death sentences we’ve seen in recent years, not just in Egypt but anywhere in the world. 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.”

Sahraoui was referring to the deliberate killing of 37 anti-coup protesters while in government’s custody last August. They were arrested after the Raba’a massacre and were left in handcuffs and shackles for six hours under 110 heat (43) inside a prison vehicle that could only hold twenty people. When they started to shout in protest, the prisoners were gassed by police officers and their corpses burned. After 11 officers were put on trial earlier this month for this massacre, 10 were either acquitted or received suspended sentences.

Meanwhile another mass trial against those opposing the military coup, including senior MB leaders, will open today in the same Minya court before the same presiding judge, with 683 defendants facing similar charges.

While the military coup regime flexes its muscles and shows contempt for any notion of justice or human rights, the world is looking the other way. For many governments it’s back to business as usual with authoritarian regimes. President Barack Obama is rewarding King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia with a state visit this week.

Long gone are the days when Obama declared in 2009 in Cairo that “the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn’t steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose are not just American ideas, [but] they are human rights, and that is why we will support them everywhere.” Given his administration’s timid response to the gross human rights violations in Egypt and its open support for authoritarian regimes such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which have bankrolled Egypt’s military coup, President Obama’s words now ring hollow.

Esam Al-Amin is the author of The Arab Awakening Unveiled: Understanding Transformations and Revolutions in the Middle East. He can be contacted at alamin1919@gmail.com.

More articles by:

November 14, 2018
Charles Pierson
Unstoppable: The Keystone XL Oil Pipeline and NAFTA
Sam Bahour
Israel’s Mockery of Security: 101 Actions Israel Could Take
Cesar Chelala
How a Bad Environment Impacts Children’s Health
George Ochenski
What Tester’s Win Means
Louisa Willcox
Saving Romania’s Brown Bears, Sharing Lessons About Coxistence, Conservation
George Wuerthner
Alternatives to Wilderness?
Robert Fisk
Izzeldin Abuelaish’s Three Daughters were Killed in Gaza, But He Still Clings to Hope for the Middle East
Dennis Morgan
For What?
Dana E. Abizaid
The Government is Our Teacher
Bill Martin
The Trump Experiment: Liberals and Leftists Unhinged and Around the Bend
Rivera Sun
After the Vote: An Essay of the Man from the North
Jamie McConnell
Allowing Asbestos to Continue Killing
Thomas Knapp
Talkin’ Jim Acosta Hard Pass Blues: Is White House Press Access a Constitutional Right?
Bill Glahn
Snow Day
November 13, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
The Midterm Results are Challenging Racism in America in Unexpected Ways
Victor Grossman
Germany on a Political Seesaw
Cillian Doyle
Fictitious Assets, Hidden Losses and the Collapse of MDM Bank
Lauren Smith
Amnesia and Impunity Reign: Wall Street Celebrates Halliburton’s 100th Anniversary
Joe Emersberger
Moreno’s Neoliberal Restoration Proceeds in Ecuador
Carol Dansereau
Climate and the Infernal Blue Wave: Straight Talk About Saving Humanity
Dave Lindorff
Hey Right Wingers! Signatures Change over Time
Dan Corjescu
Poetry and Barbarism: Adorno’s Challenge
Patrick Bond
Mining Conflicts Multiply, as Critics of ‘Extractivism’ Gather in Johannesburg
Ed Meek
The Kavanaugh Hearings: Text and Subtext
Binoy Kampmark
Concepts of Nonsense: Australian Soft Power
November 12, 2018
Kerron Ó Luain
Poppy Fascism and the English Education System
Conn Hallinan
Nuclear Treaties: Unwrapping Armageddon
Robert Hunziker
Tropical Trump Declares War on Amazonia
John W. Whitehead
Badge of Shame: the Government’s War on Military Veterans
Will Griffin
Military “Service” Serves the Ruling Class
John Eskow
Harold Pinter’s America: Hard Truths and Easy Targets
Rob Okun
Activists Looking Beyond Midterm Elections
Binoy Kampmark
Mid-Term Divisions: The Trump Take
Dean Baker
Short-Term Health Insurance Plans Destroy Insurance Pools
George Wuerthner
Saving the Buffalohorn/Porcupine: the Lamar Valley of the Gallatin Range
Patrick Howlett-Martin
A Note on the Paris Peace Forum
Joseph G. Ramsey
Does America Have a “Gun Problem”…Or a White Supremacy Capitalist Empire Problem?
Weekend Edition
November 09, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Louis Proyect
Why Democrats Are So Okay With Losing
Andrew Levine
What Now?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Chuck and Nancy’s House of Cards
Brian Cloughley
The Malevolent Hypocrisy of Selective Sanctions
Marc Levy
Welcome, Class of ‘70
David Archuleta Jr.
Facebook Allows Governments to Decide What to Censor
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Zika Scare: a Political and Commercial Maneuver of the Chemical Poisons Industry
Nick Pemberton
When It Comes To Stone Throwing, Democrats Live In A Glass House
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail