Minya Criminal Court referred, on Tuesday, six defendants to Mufti al-Gomhouria (the official religious judge) in a formal consulting step that precedes death sentence.
The court defined the 3 September session for sentencing on charges of committing riots and violence in Delga village, Minya, and protesting, leading to the murder of a Christian citizen and burning a church, after the dispersal of Rabaa and Nahda sit-ins in 2013. The court decided to punish other 37 defendants with life imprisonment and 5 defendants with 5-year-imprisonment.
The defense rejected the charges and refuted evidence of the involvement of the defendants in the murder. The case includes 48 defendants, 20 of them are tried in presence, while the remainder in absentia. The recent death sentences continue a series of death sentences issued against political detainees and members of Muslim Brotherhood. Such sentenced raised international critique as the human rights defenders raise doubts over the fairness of the trials. Human rights organizations said that many sentences were built on confessions extracted under torture.
The Egyptian Network for Human Rights recorded 69 cases of defendants await execution after final death sentences.