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Egypt: Ministry Points Out Right of Appeal for Convicted Muslim Brotherhood Members

(May 1, 2014) The criminal court of Egypt’s Al Minya Province recently sentenced the Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood organization (the spiritual head of the organization), along with 680 of its members, to the death penalty. On April 29, 2014, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice of Egypt stated that the individuals who were convicted by that court, including the Supreme Guide, have the legal right to appeal the sentence. The Ministry spokesperson added that many of the convicted were tried in absentia. (The Ministry of Justice: The Accused Sentenced to the Death Penalty Have the Right to Appeal [in Arabic], AL YOUM 7 (Apr 29, 2014).)

According to articles 170 and 328 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the death penalty will be considered void once the individuals who were tried in absentia appear before the court. Furthermore, article 165 of the Code stipulates that the accused or his attorney must attend all the trial proceedings in person in order to for the penalties imposed by the court for the alleged felonies to be considered valid. (Code of Criminal Procedure, 1937 (as last amended by Law No. 95, 2003) [in Arabic], arts. 165, 170 & 328 MOHAMOON.COM.)

For convicted individuals who are present during the trial process, their defense attorneys have the right to file an appeal before the Court of Cassation. Under the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Court of Cassation has the authority to scrutinize the decision of the criminal court. The Court of Cassation is the highest judicial body in the Egyptian court system. If the Court of Cassation finds that there was a breach of law during the trial process or in the interpretation of the Criminal Code by the judges, it will void a death penalty sentence. The Court of Cassation will also return the case to the criminal court to be adjudicated by different judges. The prosecution has the authority to appeal a decision of the criminal court as well. (Id. art 446.)