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EGYPT: Church is Always Against the Death Penalty, says Bishop

Summary & Comment: A Bishop in Egypt opposed the 529 death sentences issued against the supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood by the Court of Minya. He said "The death penalty cannot be the solution". The sentences were issued after only two hearings and defense lawyers did not have proper info or time for such a huge number of cases. Many accused were not actually present or represented in the court. JK

Author: CISA - Catholic Information Service for Africa Date Written: 25 March 2014
Primary Category: North Africa Region Document Origin: CISA
Secondary Category: Interfaith Relations Source URL: http://www.cisanewsafrica.com
Key Words: Egypt, 529 death sentences, mostly Muslims 2 hearings only.

African Charter Article #7: Everyone shall have the right to have their cause heard including the right to appeal, to legal defence, and to the presumption of innnocence. (Click for full text...)

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The Coptic Catholic Bishop of Assiut, Kyrillos William has said that from a Christian conscience point of view, the death penalty can never be the way to solve problems rightly.

He said this regarding the 529 death sentences issued against the supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood by the Court of Minya. The sentences were issued after only two hearings, and were submitted to the Grand Mufti of Egypt, who has the task to ratify or reject them.

"The situation is complex. There is the hardness of a judgment that is not final, and we have to wait. In any case, the Church is against the death penalty” he added.

"Many", explains Anba Kyrillos to Fides Agency, "doubt that the Grand Mufti will confirm the sentences. Already on other occasions the judges who issued the ruling had distinguished themselves for having imposed the harshest penalties. But the death penalty cannot be the solution.”

The prisoners are accused of various crimes, including murder. The conviction was described as "disproportionate and unacceptable" by one of the defense lawyers, Mohammed Zarie, head of a center for the protection of human rights in Cairo

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