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US urges Cairo to rethink mass death sentences

The US administration has called upon the Egyptian authorities not to carry out the death penalty against 529 anti-coup Egyptians who were sentenced to death in a two-day mass trial that concluded on Monday. The US State Department severely criticised the trial as a miscarriage of justice.

Following the announcement of the verdict, spokesperson for the US State Department Marie Harf said In a news briefing on Tuesday that it was "pretty shocking" for 529 people to be collectively sentenced to death for the killing of one policeman, adding how it "defies logic" that they could have all been tried appropriately within just two days.

Harf told reporters that: "The imposition of the death penalty for 529 defendants after a two-day summary proceeding cannot be reconciled with Egypt's obligations under international human rights law."

She continued: "Implementation of these sentences … would be unconscionable."

According to Reuters, Harf also warned that this incident, which she said "represents a flagrant disregard for basic standards of justice," might have consequences on future US aid to Egypt.

"We are making clear to the Egyptian government that these verdicts cannot be allowed to stand. The government of Egypt should be taking action to increase the freedoms of the Egyptian people, not to suppress them, thereby feeding into the exact extremism that undermines peace and security," she said.

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