An Egyptian criminal court judge is seeking the death penalty for 12 members of the radical Muslim Brotherhood who were charged with murdering a ranking police officer and with membership in a government-banned terrorist group. Egypt's constitution requires that if capital punishment is requested it must be authorized by that country's highest religious leader which the judge did on Wednesday.
Egypt's government-run news agency reported that seven of the 12 defendants appeared in court on Wednesday and stood silently as the judge announced his ruling in favor of the prosecutor and against those men accused of assassinating a high-level police official, Major General Nabil Farag, who was killed September 2013 during the arrest of Islamists who remain loyal to former-President Mohamed Mursi, a key member of the Brotherhood.
Upon contacting the White House for a response from the Obama Administration, they said that they had no response to the news of these executions at this time.
When the longtime Egyptian dictator, Hosni Mubarak, was overthrown by an overwhelming majority of the Egyptian populace, an incident applauded by President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Obama administration claimed the Muslim Brotherhood was a "moderate group" and that the U.S. government supported the election of Mohamed Mursi.
Five of the alleged cop-killing terrorists remain fugitives while there are 11 additional terrorists who are facing lesser charges and are set to appear in August.
According to the Egyptian criminal justice system, death sentence rulings are typically sent to the Grand Mufti for his approval, but his ruling be set aside by the judge, and all rulings are opened to appeal.
During 2014, well over 1,000 convicted supporters of Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood were sentenced to death, something that created a firestorm within several European governments and human rights groups. Thirty-seven of those death sentences have been upheld, and hundreds more await a final ruling.