Kerry pushes Egypt to drop death sentences in Muslim Brotherhood trial
Kerry was on a surprise visit to Jordan when he made the statement. (File/AFP)
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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has strongly urged Egyptian authorities to reconsider handing down a death sentence to 529 supporters of overthrown president Mohamed Morsi Wednesday, AFP reports.
Speaking during a visit to Jordan, Kerry condemned the Egyptian court’s decision, saying that it would send a “negative message” both in the Middle East and around the world, according to AFP.
In a statement, Secretary Kerry said: "I am deeply, deeply troubled by the sudden and unprecedented decision by an Egyptian court to issue preliminary death sentences for 529 citizens after a quick mass trial.
“I urge the interim Egyptian government to reverse the court ruling and ensure due process for the accused. Anything less would dishonor the bravery of all who sacrificed their lives for democratic values."
The sentence was part of a mass trial of an estimated 1,200 Muslim Brotherhood supporters, accused of murder, inciting violence and damaging property.
Police arrested hundreds of Morsi supporters August 14, in Cairo last year during demonstrations and sit-ins, which the military attempted to halt using live ammunition.
Legal experts on Monday said the latest verdicts are most likely to be quashed pending an appeal.
Kerry emphasized that there should be “greater urgency” to ensure the remainder of those yet to be tried should be given a fair and democratic chance.
Egypt’s foreign ministry has defended the court’s handling of the trails.