Churches concerned over Egypt death sentence for 529 people

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World Council of Churches general secretary Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit has expressed deep worry over a court decision in Egypt, where 529 people have been sentenced to death in one of the largest trials in the history of the country.

The death sentence for 529 supporters of the ousted President Mohammed Morsi came on Tuesday 25 March 2014. They are expected to appeal.

While being hopeful that the judgment will be overturned on the first appeal, the WCC remains concerned over the reversal of the recent signs of hope which had suggested that the vibrant Egyptian society was progressing towards respect of human dignity and the rule of law,” Tveit said in a statement issued on 28 March.

The WCC general secretary echoed the voices of Egyptian human rights organizations and the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay, who have condemned the outcome of the mass trial as a “clear breach of international law”.

Tveit expressed his hopes that “Egypt will go forward in a process that respects basic human rights and serves the building of democracy and mutual trust in the country.”

“We believe that only a peaceful and inclusive process, in which all political parties and civil society organizations and actors work together” will lead the country to “national unity and to justice and peace,” Dr Tveit concluded.

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