Cairo: Egyptian authorities on Monday executed seventeen prisoners including Sheikh Abd al Rahim Jibril, an 82-year-old scholar of Quran, who were convicted of murder for an attack on a police station in 2013, reported the country’s interior ministry.
The seventeen were executed on the charges in the case known in the media as the “Kerdasa massacre”.
In 2013, all 17 people were convicted of killing 13 policemen during an attack on a police station in Giza, on the outskirts of Kerdasa.
However, serious questions were raised about their sentence. According to Middle-East Eye, the Arab Organization for Human Rights UK (AOHR) has confirmed that the identities of those who raided the police station under investigation are still unknown- the state has not presented any concrete evidence linking the men executed (or any of those charged) with the raid.
Many of their testimonies were tortured, and therefore unacceptable, and the first case was dismissed because of the state’s use of force.
According to Amnesty International, Sheikh Abd al Rahim Jibril identified as a Quran Scholar with poor health.
Jibril’s sentencing in particular has raised serious concerns. Not only is the 80-year-old suffering from a serious health condition that makes it impossible for him to take part in a deadly raid, but eyewitnesses have also testified that he was actually not among those originally present near the Kerdasa police station on the day of the incident.
In addition, prosecution witnesses refused to sign written statements confirming Jibril’s participation in the event.
Nevertheless, the court ignored the documents and decided to execute him, said AOHR discussing the background to his case. His lawyer said he had never committed a criminal offense in his life and was suffering from psoriasis and could not walk long distances, making it impossible for him to take part in any criminal activity.
The executions, which are part of a wider crackdown on all critics of the Egyptian government, have been condemned.
“These executions in these blessed days indicate the extent to which this regime has reached in terms of criminality, recklessness, and defiance of all standards and values upon which societies are built,” said Dr Maha Azzam, president of the Egyptian Revolutionary Council in a joint statement with the Egyptian People’s Democratic Party.
Online, many social media users used the name of the deceased Sheikh Abd al Rahim Jibril to shed light on his death sentence and demand justice.
“Dissidents in Egypt suffer serious violations since the moment of their arrest, followed by subjecting them to enforced disappearance and denying them communication with the outside world,” their statement read.