Convicted academic denounces Egypt 'reign of terror'

(MENAFN- The Peninsula) Egyptian authorities have unleashed a "reign of terror" against opponents of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a prominent academic who was recently sentenced to death told AFP in an interview.

Emad Shahin, who fled Egypt in January 2014 and is a visiting professor at Washington-based Georgetown University, was handed the death penalty on Saturday in his absence with 15 others on charges of espionage.

"Such a verdict sends a message to the Egyptian people in general that the reign of terror continues and that it is extremely risky to oppose that regime," said Shahin, 57, referring to Sisi's government.

"I can't say I was shocked, because of the rate of sentences handed down by the Egyptian judiciary... anything was expected," Shahin, who has previously taught at Harvard and Columbia universities, said in a telephone interview.

Shahin and 35 co-defendants, including ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, were accused of spying for foreign powers, the Palestinian movement Hamas and Shiite Iran between 2005 and August 2013 to destabilise Egypt.

Morsi, 64, was also sentenced to death on Saturday along with more than 100 others in a separate trial for their role in a mass jailbreak during the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected leader, is due to be sentenced on the espionage charges along with the other 18 defendants on June 2.

Sisi, then army chief, toppled Morsi in July 2013 and has since overseen a brutal government crackdown targeting supporters of the Islamist.

Hundreds of Morsi supporters have been killed in street clashes, while thousands more have been imprisoned, and many more sentenced to death after speedy mass trials described by the United Nations as "unprecedented in recent history".

The Peninsula

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