An Egyptian court today sentenced 183 people to death over the ransacking of a police station and the killing of 15 policemen after the 2013 ouster of President Mohamed Morsi. The verdict was the latest in a string of mass death sentences that have sparked local and international condemnation. The charges are related to the bloody August 2013 ransacking of a police station in the village of Kerdassah, near Cairo. The attackers killed 15 officers, including the police chief, and mutilated some of the bodies.The assault was believed to be revenge by Morsi loyalists for the government's crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, which Egypt has officially declared a terrorist organization.
Morsi, a longtime Brotherhood official, was ousted by the military in July 2013 following mass protests against his rule. Morsi supporters staged a pair of large public sit-in protests in Cairo, which were harshly broken up by police on August 14, 2013—killing hundreds of Brotherhood cadres. The attack on the Kerdassah police station began a few hours after the Brotherhood sit-ins were cleared. Today's verdict was issued by judge Mohammed Nagi Shehata, who has developed a reputation for harsh sentences against perceived government critics. He also sentenced three al-Jazeera journalists to jail terms ranging from 7-10 years; one of those journalists, Australian Peter Greste, was released and deported yesterday, while the other two remain in prison.