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Egypt carries out first death sentence after mass trials of Morsi supporters

8An Egyptian man has been executed for pushing a teenager from a building, the first time that Egypt has enacted any of the death sentences given to hundreds of people accused of taking part in the unrest that followed the removal of Mohamed Morsi as president in 2013.

Mahmoud Ramadan was hanged for his role in the murder of a young Morsi critic in July 2013 during clashes between Morsi’s supporters and opponents. More than 50 others have been jail for more than 15 months for their alleged involvement in the same case.

At least 720 alleged Morsi supporters have been sentenced to death for their claimed role in Islamist-led violence in 2013, including the head of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Badie. But most of their sentences have yet to be enacted or have been quashed on appeal and sent to retrial.

Ramadan’s is the first to be carried out. The execution follows a period in which Egypt’s interior ministry was felt to be doing little to curb an increase in militant activity.

Ramadan can be seen in amateur footage that shows Islamists pushing two teenagers from a ledge on to a terrace below. Another victim died after being thrown from the terrace entirely; this incident was not captured in the footage. The video caused shockwaves among Morsi’s opponents at the time.

Ramadan, who is seen to be carrying a black Islamist flag in the footage, admitted stabbing the teenager but denied later throwing him from the roof, a spokesman for Amnesty International said.

As a result, Ramadan’s lawyers asked the prosecution to produce more witnesses to prove his involvement in the murder itself, but the request was ignored. They also questioned why only Islamists were being tried for their crimes that day, arguing that Morsi supporters were also killed in revenge violence.

Amnesty said the execution should not have gone ahead, citing alleged irregularities in the court proceedings. “The execution happened after an unfair trial where not all the [testimonies] were included and where the conviction depended on very fragile evidence,” said Mohamed Elmessiry, Amnesty’s Egypt researcher. “The execution should not have happened and a retrial should have been ordered.”

Hundreds of Islamists have received heavy punishments for their alleged roles in the Islamist-led violence that followed Morsi’s removal. But no policeman or soldier has been convicted for their simultaneous involvement in the deaths of more than 1,000 pro-Morsi protesters.

A police captain jailed for gassing to death 37 prisoners inside a police truck later had his conviction overturned.