U.S. says carrying out Egypt's death sentences would be 'unconscionable'

by Reuters
Tuesday, 25 March 2014 19:06 GMT

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WASHINGTON, March 25 (Reuters) - The United States on Tuesday sharply criticized Egypt's trials of members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood and said it would be "unconscionable" for the Egyptian government to carry out the death sentences given to 529 members of the Islamist group.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said the death sentences given on Monday by the Egyptian court and the start of another mass trial on Tuesday of the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and 682 others "represent a flagrant disregard for basic standards of justice."

"The imposition of the death penalty for 529 defendants after a two-day summary proceeding cannot be reconciled with Egypt's obligations under international human rights law, and its implementation of these sentences ... would be unconscionable," Harf told a new briefing.

Harf said the United States is "currently evaluating our aid policy" toward Egypt and that "everything that happens on the ground, including this, will play into the decision about where our assistance relationship goes from here."

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on March 12 he would decide "in the days ahead" whether to resume U.S. aid to Egypt after suspending the funds last year over the ouster of President Mohamed Mursi and a crackdown against protesters. (Reporting by Will Dunham and David Brunnstrom; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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