An Egyptian court on Monday sentenced to death five men convicted of killing 13 policemen in a town near Cairo during a deadly security crackdown on ousted president Mohammed Morsi’s supporters in 2013.
The officers were killed in an attack on a police station in Kerdasa, on the outskirts of Cairo, on August 14 2013 – the same day that police killed hundreds of demonstrators in clashes as they dismantled two massive pro-Morsi protest camps in the capital.
The five men were part of a group of 183 defendants sentenced to death in February for killing police but were on the run at the time and tried in absentia.
The fugitives were later arrested and received the same punishment Monday after a retrial.
Rights group say that since the army deposed Morsi on July 3 2013, at least 1 400 people have been killed in a police crackdown on protests, mostly Islamists supporting the ousted leader.
Hundreds of his supporters have been sentenced to death in swift mass trials which the United Nations says were “unprecedented in recent history”.
Critics of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the former army chief who ousted Morsi, say authorities are using the judiciary to repress any form of dissent, including from secular activists.
But Sisi’s regime is supported by a large section of Egyptians who are tired of political turmoil since the ouster of long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak in early 2011.