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Hundreds protest in Istanbul against Morsi death penalty

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The demonstrators gathered at the courtyard of Fatih Mosque, some of whom carried placards that read: ‘Pro-coup judges cannot judge Morsi’.

Hundreds of people took out a rally in Istanbul Sunday to protest against an Egyptian court’s decision to impose the death penalty on ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.

The demonstrators gathered at the courtyard of Fatih Mosque, some of whom carried placards that read: “Murderer [ex-Egyptian army chief and coup leader Abdel Fattah al-Sisi] Sisi, we are with you, Morsi”, and “Pro-coup judges cannot judge Morsi”.

The demonstration was led by Turkish nongovernmental organizations, including Association for Free Thought and Educational Rights, or Ozgur-Der and the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH).

IHH Vice President Osman Atalay urged the United Nations and Amnesty International to take action to prevent the execution of the Egyptian leader and other Egyptians nominated in the case.

“The cost of these executions will be tremendous,” Atalay warned.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan termed the Egyptian court’s verdict a capital punishment against democracy Saturday.

Erdogan had also called on the Western world to take a stance against the Cairo court’s decision and criticized their silence over the issue.

An Egyptian court Saturday referred 122 out of 166 defendants, including Morsi to the country’s grand mufti to consider possible death sentences against them over charges of jailbreak and espionage charges.

Morsi’s family did not attend Saturday’s trial session, citing “their rejection of the legitimacy of the trial.”

He is the first president to be referred to the country’s grand mufti in Egypt’s history. The opinion of the mufti is non-binding, but Egyptian law makes it necessary for judges to seek a religious point of view on any death sentence.

Last month, Morsi and 12 codefendants were sentenced to 20 years in prison each for allegedly mobilizing supporters to “intimidate, detain and torture” dozens of anti-Morsi protesters during clashes outside eastern Cairo’s Ittihadiya presidential palace in December 2012.

Morsi currently faces multiple criminal trials on charges that include espionage and “insulting the judiciary,” charges he says are politically motivated.

Since Morsi’s ouster in July 2013, Egyptian security forces have launched a relentless crackdown on dissent that has targeted both Islamists and secularists, leaving hundreds dead and thousands behind bars.

Istanbul-based Ozgur-Der was established in 1999 and is known for organizing protests to oppose human rights violations across the world.

The Turkish aid agency IHH was established in 1995; it is also known for sending a cargo ship filled with humanitarian aid and construction materials for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in 2010, which came under a deadly Israeli attack.

Resource: Anadolu Agency, May 18, 2015

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