Middle East

Berlin summons Egyptian ambassador over death sentences

An Egyptian woman faints outside the courtroom in Egypt's central city of Minya after an Egyptian court sentenced Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie and other alleged Islamists to death on April 28, 2014. AFP PHOTO / KHALED DESOUKI

BERLIN: The German foreign ministry said it summoned the Egyptian ambassador Tuesday to urge the lifting of 683 death sentences handed down by an Egyptian court to suspected Islamists.

The ministry said its Middle East coordinator Volkmar Wenzel had made the "urgent appeal" to Ambassador Mohamed Higazy for the justice authorities to reverse Monday's decision "and allow the affected people to have a fair trial".

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier had said Monday that the authorities were "running the risk of further destabilising the country and cementing the division within politics and society in the run-up to the presidential elections due to take place in May".

The court in the southern province of Minya sparked an international outcry with its initial sentencing last month, amid a sweeping crackdown on supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

Germany has offered Egypt aid in exchange for democratic development since the 2011 ouster of Hosni Mubarak.

But it has expressed growing disquiet about rights abuses in the country seen as pivotal for the development of the Arab Spring countries. 





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