Dark Days in Egypt: Violence, Sham trials and Death Sentences

Relatives of supporters of Egyptian ousted president Mohamed Morsi gather outside the courthouse, during a trial of some 700 Islamists charged with deadly rioting. The court sentenced to death 529 Muslim Brotherhood members to death. (AFP/Getty Images)


Egyptians are worried and losing hope for their country. Sham trials, and endless political protests are just part of it. There are numerous human rights violations, ongoing violence and repression. And Egypt's economy is in trouble. There are suggestions these are the darkest days Egypt has seen in more than half a century. Today we head to Cairo.

Many Egyptians feel the situation in Egypt is dire

The United Nations condemns it as a breach of international law.

The United States calls it "unconscionable."

An Egyptian court has sentenced nearly 530 supporters of the deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi -- to death.

The defendants were found guilty of charges relating to an attack on a police station, as the country struggled with violence that led to the overthrow of Morsi last summer.

Yesterday another 683 people went to trial facing similar charges.

It's been just over three years since the Arab Spring saw the end of more that thirty years of rule by Hosni Mubarak.

And in that time, instead of a peaceful and democratic country, many Egyptians believe the situation has never been more dire.

It's difficult to get accurate numbers on the rise in the number of Egyptians killed, injured, or jailed since the coup against Mohamed Morsi's government last summer.

But the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights, a human rights organization, has tried to pull together numbers using materials including video, news clips, official and human rights reports since the start of the uprising against then-president Hosni Mubarak in January 2011.


(Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images)

Here is how those most recent numbers breakdown:

Between the overthrow of Mohamed Morsi last July and the end of January, more than 3100 Egyptians have been killed because of political violence.

Of those, at least 2500 were civilians.

And 60 soldiers or police officers were killed in demonstrations or clashes.

More that 17,000 people were injured.

Between July and the end of December, nearly 19,000 Egyptians were arrested for political reasons --- the vast majority during political events.

About 2600 political leaders have been detained, primarily from the Muslim Brotherhood and other similar groups.

So what is like to live in Egypt amidst of all this? Sundus Balata is an Egyptian-Canadian development worker. She was in Cairo.

There has been condemnation of not just the mass death sentence, but the way these kinds of trials are carried out. Mohamed Zaree is the Egypt Programme Manager at the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies -- an independent non-governmental organization which promotes the principles of human rights and democracy across the Arab region. Mohamed Zaree was in Cairo.

Said Sadek says Egypt is in transition -- and while the turmoil is serious, so far Egypt's avoided the catastrophe of other countries undergoing political change. Said Sadek is a political sociologist based in Cairo.

What are your thoughts on this discussion? Do you have family living in Egypt?

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This segment was produced by The Current's Catherine Kalbfleisch and Pacinthe Mattar.

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