UN Concerned by Egypt Death Sentences

UN Concerned by Egypt Death SentencesUN Concerned by Egypt Death Sentences

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed concern about death sentences sought against Egypt’s first democratically-elected president Mohamed Morsi and more than 100 others on Saturday.

Ban urged authorities to avoid steps that could undermine peace, stability and the rule of law in the region, his office said in a statement, World Bulletin reported.

“He reaffirms the United Nations’ position against capital punishment,” the statement said.

A court pronounced death sentences on Morsi and 121 other people on jailbreak charges on Saturday and sent a notice to the Grand Mufti, Egypt’s highest religious authority, to give his opinion on the matter.

The opinion of the mufti, however, is non-binding to the court, but Egyptian law makes it necessary for judges to seek a religious point of view on any death sentence. The potential verdict is open to appeal. “The Secretary-General understands that the verdict is still subject to an appeal. He will continue to monitor the process very closely,” the UN statement said.

Meanwhile, a US State Department official said on Sunday that the US is “deeply concerned” about the court’s decision to seek the death penalty for Morsi.

“We are deeply concerned by yet another mass death sentence handed down by an Egyptian court to more than 100 defendants, including former president Morsi,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The US criticism follows condemnations from Amnesty International and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after the court ruling on Saturday against the deposed president and 106 supporters of his Muslim Brotherhood in connection with a mass jail break in 2011.