Effect on Egyptian tourism after 683 death sentences handed out
Will the harsh reaction of Egyptian courts have an effect on the desperate situation of tourism and safety to this country? An Egyptian court has sentenced to death 683 supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi, including one of his Muslim Brotherhood movement leaders, Mohamed Badie.
The same court reversed 492 of the 529 death sentences it passed in March, replacing the capital punishment for most convicts to life in prison, Egyptian media reported.
The new sentences passed on Muslim Brotherhood members came over charges relating to an attack on a police station last year.
The deadly attack on August 14 in the city of Minya, where the trial was held, came on a day of violent clashes between Morsi supporters and Egyptian security troops.
The Islamist movement Muslim Brotherhood, which remained in hideout in Egypt for decades, became a prominent political force following the public uprising against President Hosni Mubarak in 2011. It managed to win enough votes in 2012 election to bring its candidate Morsi to power.
His government, however, failed to address acute economic and security problems that Egypt was facing, with protests continuing. A year after Morsi took the presidential oath, the Egyptian military staged a coup d'état and deposed him. The Muslim Brotherhood was subsequently outlawed again.
Former Egyptian army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is seeking presidency now in the upcoming May election. Morsi supporters and members of Islamist political parties close to the Muslim Brotherhood are calling on a boycott of the poll.
Sisi, a strongman widely seen as the de facto ruler of Egypt, is trumpeted by his supporters as a figure that can stabilize the country in a time of crisis. There is little doubt that he will win the election, in which he has only one opponent: leftist Hamdeen Sabahi, who came in third in the 2012 election.