Egyptian court sentences Morsi supporters to death for throwing rival off roof
Supporters of the ousted Egypt's ousted President Mohamed Morsi march in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, March 28, 2014. Hundreds of Egyptian protesters took to the streets Friday, some clashing with security forces, to protest the decision by former military chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to run in upcoming presidential elections. (AP / Amru Taha)
Mariam Rizk, The Associated Press
Published Saturday, March 29, 2014 3:20PM EDT
CAIRO, Egypt -- A court in Egypt's second-largest city sentenced two supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi to death on Saturday for throwing two people off the roof of a building during violent protests after the Islamist president was ousted, according to Egypt's state news agency.
The agency said the court in Alexandria found the men guilty of murdering a child and a young man in the coastal city during mass protests that demanded Morsi's reinstatement after he was removed from power by the military.
The roof incident happened July 5 of last year, two days after Morsi's ouster. It was one of the most dramatic acts of violence on a day in which 16 other people were killed in Alexandria.
Judge Sayed Abdel-Latif said he would issue the verdict against another 60 defendants charged with violence that day in another two months. It was not clear why the ruling was split into two.
One of those killed was nine-year-old Hamada Badr, who witnesses including an Associated Press journalist said was stabbed and then thrown off the roof. Another man in his twenties was hurled to his death and Morsi supporters were seen beating his lifeless body.
The father of the nine-year old said the verdict was partial vindication.
"But I want all the Brotherhood leadership tried and sentenced to death," said Badr Hassouna.
Video footage of the incidents was repeatedly aired on national TV. It also showed one of the defendants roaming the roof raising a black flag often used by Islamic militants.
Another 12 people were killed elsewhere in Egypt that day in clashes sparked when tens of thousands of enraged Morsi supporters took to the street after a Muslim Brotherhood leader called on "defending" the ousted Islamist president who was then in military custody.
The violence set the tone for months to come. Authorities have since intensified a crackdown on Morsi supporters and dispersed protests in which over 1,000 were killed and thousands others were detained.
Last week, a court sentenced 529 Islamists to death for killing a policeman in the province of Minya, south of Cairo. Morsi and most of the Muslim Brotherhood leadership are detained, facing trials on charges ranging from murder to incitement of violence to conspiring with foreign groups to destabilize Egypt.
Almost no official has been held accountable for the killing of protesters. The government has declared the Brotherhood a terrorist group and blames it for waging a campaign of violence in Egypt.
Meanwhile, attacks on troops and police have increased, leaving hundreds dead. The Brotherhood denies it is behind the campaign of violence.
Also Saturday, airport officials said a Brotherhood leader arrested in Kuwait at Cairo's behest was extradited to Egypt for prosecution.
Mohammed el-Qabouti is wanted for trial on suspicion he incited violence against authorities last summer. The handover of el-Qabouti is the first reported case of Cairo's Gulf allies arresting and extraditing members of the Brotherhood to Egypt. Authorities reported his arrest in Kuwait earlier this month.
Following Saturday's verdict, defendants in a cage in court raised the four-finger sign, a symbol of defiance associated with Morsi supporters. Families were not allowed into the court, and had to wait outside amid tight security.
Eight months after Morsi's ouster, his supporters still protest, often sparking clashes on the streets with security forces or political opponents.
In the latest bout of violence Friday, five people were killed including a young female journalist who was shot in the head.
Four others were shot in the head and the chest, Hisham Abdel Hamid, spokesman of the forensic authority told CBC-TV Saturday. Protesters on the scene said they were attacked without warning by police with live ammunition. But the ministry of Interior said the slain were killed by protesters who carried weapons.
One of those killed was a Christian woman. Security officials said protesters pulled her out of her car when they spotted a cross inside. She was then shot, the officials said quoting witnesses. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
Elsewhere on Saturday, at least eight people were killed in explosion in a house where fuel was being stored for sale on the black market, the head of security in the southern province of Sohag, Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Saber said. It was not immediately clear what caused the blast, which wounded 64 people, including 25 who were in critical condition, Saber said.
Egypt is reeling from a shortage of fuel products, increasing hoarding and illegal sales.
Associated Press Writer Laura Dean contributed to this report from Cairo.