The Giza Criminal Court has sentenced 183 out of 188 defendants to death, on charges of storming the Kerdasa police station and murdering at least 11 policemen in August 2013.
The court, presided over by Judge Nagy Shehata, sentenced a minor to 10 years in prison, acquitted two defendants, and dropped charges against two others as they had passed away, state-run Al-Ahram reported Monday.
According to Al-Ahram, 151 people were in custody, while the remaining 37 are on the run, and were tried in absentia.
The incident occurred during a period of intense daily clashes between pro-Muslim Brotherhood people and security forces.
Meanwhile, the Court of Appeals overturned verdicts issued against 22 defendants and ordered a retrial in the killing of Giza Deputy Security Chief Nabil Farag in September 2013. This occurred as a security raid was launched in Kerdasa following the police station incident and the crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood supporters following former president Mohamed Morsi’s ouster.
The security operation in the village of Kerdasa, near to the Giza pyramids, was launched in the early hours of 19 September 2013, nearly a month after the dispersal of the sit-ins. The pretext of the operation was arresting suspects in the police massacre, as Kerdasa had reportedly fallen under the control of alleged armed Muslim Brotherhood supporters. Farag was shot at the beginning of the operation, as the police claimed the shooting started from the inside the village towards them.
Violence in Kerdasa increased on 14 August 2013, the same during which security forces dispersed the Rabaa Al-Adaweya and Al-Nahda sit-ins. Both sit-ins were organised to show support for Morsi, with violence not restricted to Kerdasa village, but also occurring in the nearby village of Nahia.
State-run media reported 14 policemen died in the attack on the police station in August, adding that the perpetrators were heavily armed, including with rocket propelled grenades (RPGs). Policemen were tortured to death and some of the bodies were mutilated, state-run newspaper Al-Ahram said.
Prosecution authorities said the attackers seized weapons and videotaped the attack, which became known as the “Kerdasa massacre”, to “humiliate” the police. Videos of the attack on the station and of the bodies of the dead officers were made available on the internet.
A Ministry of Interior statement said the September operation was an “implementation of the prosecution’s orders to arrest a number of terrorists and fugitives” involved in the attack on the Kerdasa police station the previous month.
In a trial case opened for Farag’s death, 12 people were sentenced to death in August and 10 others to life imprisonment following a final Giza Criminal Court verdict in August. These covered the prosecution’s charges of participating in and funding terrorism, forming an illegal group aimed at obstructing state institutions from performing their duties, assaulting citizens and spreading terrorism.
That part of Giza remains unstable as weekly reports of pro-Muslim Brotherhood protests, clashes, attacks on police installations and institutions continue to occur in the main Haram Street connecting the governorate to the rest of Cairo.
A militant campaign targeting police and army has escalated since the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi on 3 July 2013. Policemen and soldiers have been killed in shootings and bombings in the Sinai Peninsula, Cairo and the Nile Delta.
Additional reporting by Hend Kortam.