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 Updated: June 16, 2015

Egypt Court Issues lenient sentences for Killers of Shiite Leader

By: Hashem Hosein

CAIRO, Egypt: An Egyptian Court has sentenced 23 people to 14 years in maximum security prison over the June 2013 massacre of four Shias in Giza, Egypt.

Of the 23 sentenced to prison, only nine are in custody, while the remaining 14 were sentenced in absentia. Meanwhile, eight defendants were acquitted.

The lenient sentences for those involved in the brutal murders were issued by the Cairo court while Egyptian judges handed down death sentences to activists involved in inciting rallies in protest at the military ouster of Egypt’s first democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi.

In June 2013, four Shia Muslims were killed by a mob that attacked their houses. Five houses owned by Shias were torched, and 32 Shias were injured.

The attack occurred weeks before Mohamed Morsi was toppled as president by the army.

The deaths came on the 15th night of Mid-Shaaban, a holy Islamic night for all muslims. A top Shia leader, Hassan Shehata, had been visiting the local village of Abu Muslam in Giza, when angry locals stormed the house he was visiting, throwing Molotov Cocktails and dragging each family member out onto the streets.

Sheikh Hassan Shehata was dragged in the streets after being stabbed and killed. Images showed Shehata being beaten and kicked as his lifeless body was being dragged for show.

The other victims had been identified as the 55-year-old brother of Sheikh Shehata and 45-year-old Abd Al-Kader Hassanein Amr. The fourth victim had initially not been identified as his face had been too badly disfigured.

After the victims were dragged in the streets amid cheering crowds, the locals dumped the bodies to nearby Central Security Forces vans, where the police officers simply piled them on top of each other. Police, at the time, had been criticized for standing idly as the mob attacked the Shia Muslims.

The Shiite scholar Hassan Shehata was born on November 10, 1946 in the small town of Harbit, Markaz Abu Kabir, in al-Sharqiyah province of Egypt.

He served as a prominent cleric who had thousands of followers due to his moderate views and his denouncement of radical and extremist movements in Egypt.

He was well known for telling people about the nature of extremist groups and radical thoughts which are common in Egypt due to the powerful presence of radical groups.

Following the death in June 2013, Egyptian Shiites blamed the Muslim Brotherhood, stating that senior Brotherhood leaders had been using inflammatory rhetoric against the Shiites.

Shia activist Bahaa Anwar stated “There are not less than three million Shiias who live in Egypt and last Saturday during the Syria solidarity conference attended by (then) President Morsi…Salafist Sheikhs insulted Shias and incited hate against them.”

On Islamic-run television channel, Al-Nas (The People), Salafist host Khaled Abdullah hailed the event and defended those involved in the murder. The host stated that the Shias in Egypt have been attempting to convert Sunnis to Shia Islam.

Popular Salafist-run Facebook page, Life is Colored Salafist (which has since been deleted), also supported the killings. The page also joked and bragged about the incident stating “Hassan Shehata came to spread Shiite in Egypt, then the Egyptians came and took him to the grave.”


 

 
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