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On June 7, the Court of Cassation, Egypt's highest court, issued a ruling reaffirming the death penalty for six young men from Mansoura who have been in jail since 2014 .However, since the military government came to power in July 2013 most of these death sentences – 1,284 people between 2014 and 2016, according to Amnesty International, up from 109 in 2013 and about 180 per year under Mubarak – were protesters accused of allegedly forming terrorist cells and subsequently charged with threatening national security.Activists campaigned to stop the execution of the Mansoura defendants based on the lack of a fair trial and gathered over 15,000 signatures on an online petition asking Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi to exercise his legal right to commute the death penalty within 14 days of a final ruling, but to no avail.This in itself was a rare occurrence, as the Court of Cassation since July 2013 had typically agreed to try appeals of death sentences in blatantly politicized cases.In addition to the systematic violations of fair trial standards, there are a number of examples that suggest these death sentences and subsequent executions are politicized and retaliatory. One glaring example is the execution of six young defendants in the Arab Sharkas case on May 17, 2015, the day after an attack on judges in Arish in the northern Sinai.
Egypt back under emergency law
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