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Egyptian Church will respect sentencing of ex-president

 OXFORD (CNS): Egypt’s Catholic Church has pledged to respect the country’s judicial system following the May 16 sentencing to death of deposed former president, Mohammed Morsi, along with several dozen others, for alleged complicity in a planned jailbreak.

Father Hani Bakhoum Kiroulos, patriarchal vicar of the Coptic Catholic Church, said, “After long deliberations, the Catholic Church has declared itself against the death penalty in general.” 

In a May 21 interview, Father Kiroulos said, “Egypt is an Islamic country which, like the United States, uses this sentence. Far from intervening in particular judgments, the Catholic Church must respect the country’s laws and judicial system.”

He also noted that the death sentences were not final and could still be appealed, adding that they also had to be reviewed by Egypt’s highest religious authority, the Muslim grand mufti.

Morsi, who is already serving a 20-year term for ordering the arrest and torture of protesters, was sentenced to death with 104 supporters, including alleged members of the Palestinian Hamas group, after being accused of plotting with foreign militants to free radical Islamists from prison.

Amnesty International, deplored the judgment and said the death penalty was being used “to purge the political opposition.” The sentence triggered violent protests by backers of Morsi’s now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood movement.

However, another Bishop Kyrillos William from Assiut, said the death sentence appeared to have popular support, noting that when it was in power, the Muslim Brotherhood had itself demanded death for Egypt’s previous president, Hosni Mubarak.

He told the Vatican’s Fides news agency on May 18 that “the Church respects the independence of the judiciary but believes life is an inviolable right.”......

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