[JURIST] The Giza Criminal Court on Wednesday upheld death sentences against 12 members of the Muslim Brotherhood [BBC backgrounder, JURIST news archive] convicted of murdering former Deputy Director of Giza Security Nabil Farrag. After the men were found guilty [JURIST report] in June by Judge Moataz Khafagy, the rulings needed to be approved [The Cairo Post report] by the Grand Mufti before they became official. The men were charged with the formation of an illegal militant group, the death of the police chief and attacking police and armed forces. The shooting occurred when police entered the town of Kerdasa and arrested alleged supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi [BBC profile, JURIST news archive]. The convicted men were all supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi.
The Egyptian military and new government have heavily cracked down on supporters of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, having jailed approximately 15,000 individuals since his ouster in July 2013. In April Egyptian courts convicted [JURIST report] more than 50 supporters of the former president on charges including violence and rioting. In March the most notable sentencing occurred when 529 alleged Morsi supporters were collectively sentenced [JURIST report] to death in one controversial judicial proceeding. That sentencing was heavily criticized [JURIST report] by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, claiming it illustrates the lengths to which Egypt's courts have been politicized and due process has been ignored during a crackdown on Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood. Two more Morsi supporters were independently sentenced [JURIST report] to death in March as well. Critics of these harsh sentences have pointed to examples of disparate treatment unfairly targeting Islamists, such as the sentencing [JURIST report] of several police officers involved in the deaths of 37 Morsi supporters to single-year suspended sentences.