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A relative of a defendant faints outside court in Minya after the death sentences were announced. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

A relative of a defendant faints outside court in Minya after the death sentences were announced. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

An open letter to the Guardian's highlights the British government's failure to speak out against growing human rights abuses in Egypt

The death sentence handed down to 529 protesters by an Egyptian court (Report, 24 March) should have produced much more than mumbled regret from the British government. This was a political show trial in which less than half the defendants were present in court. Their defence lawyers were not in the court either. The trial has been condemned by Amnesty International. The protesters were not, as reports have routinely claimed, all supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and revulsion at the verdict stretches across the political spectrum to include all but the most determined supporters of Field Marshall El Sisi. All this takes place against the background of the outright banning of Egypt's largest opposition group, which followed the shooting by the Egyptian army of thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters last year. The British government should call in the Egyptian ambassador and demand that this judgment is withdrawn with immediate effect.
Mark Serwotka General secretary, Public and Commercial Services Union
Steve Turner Assistant general secretary, Unite the Union
Ken Loach Film director
Helena Kennedy QC
Alaa Mohamed Chair, British Egyptians 4 Democracy
Basma Muhammad Co-ordinator, International Anti-Coup Pro-Democracy Alliance
Andrew Murray Chief of staff, Unite the Union
John Rees Co-founder, Stop the War Coalition
Mohammad Soudan UK representative, Freedom and Justice Party
Louise Christian Human rights lawyer
Bernard Regan Chair, Sertuc international committee
Caryl Churchill Playwright
Peter Oborne Chief political commentator, Daily Telegraph
Lindsey German Convenor, Stop the War Coalition
Carl Arrindell Head of current affairs, Islam Channel
Paul Mackney Former general secretary Natfhe/UCU
Chris Nineham National secretary, Counterfire
Steve Bell Treasurer, Stop the War Coalition
Kate Hudson
Cherry Sewell Officer, Greek Solidarity Campaign

From the Guardian

Tagged under: Middle East Egypt
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