UPDATE: Formal Ruling on Egypt’s Mass Death Sentences Set for Tomorrow

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Relatives of the defendants react after an Egyptian court sentenced 638 Morsi backers to death in a mass trial in Egypt (Photo Credit: Ahmed Ismail/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images).

Relatives of the defendants react after an Egyptian court sentenced 638 Morsi backers to death in a mass trial in Egypt (Photo Credit: Ahmed Ismail/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images).

Lives are always at stake when the death penalty is involved. But when the new el-Sisi government is preparing to execute 683 Egyptians, something even more is at stake: the future of the Egyptian judiciary.

On Saturday, an Egyptian court will formally rule on the initial 683 death sentences handed out in April in a case involving the death of a police officer in the August 2013 protests that followed the removal of President Muhamad Morsi. The sentence followed only by a matter of days a second, similar case in which 528 Egyptians were given the death penalty.

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5 Things You May Be Missing About Egypt’s Judicial Crisis

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There’s a new hanging judge in Egypt, and he’s casting a chill upon the declining hopes and vision for human rights that came out of the 2011 uprising.

It’s been one month since the judge sentenced 528 people – alleged supporters of former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi – to death. On Monday, the judge returned to the case, confirmed 37 death sentences and gave the remaining 491 people life in prison.

At the same time, he sentenced 683 more people to death in a trial that news reports stated lasted just minutes. Both cases have to do with deaths of Egyptian policemen during violence that arose in August 2013 following Morsi’s removal from office.

The two cases stand as a mockery of justice, death sentences issued on an industrial scale. The size of the injustice is raising outrage around the world, but beneath the headlines, there are important human rights messages to be learned.

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What’s Ten Attack Helicopters Between Friends?

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In 2013, Amnesty International documented the use of attack helicopters by Egyptian security forces for surveillance against crowds and protesters. Now, the Obama administration is selling 10 Apache military helicopters to the country (Photo Credit: Ken Ishii/Getty Images).

In 2013, Amnesty International documented the use of attack helicopters by Egyptian security forces for surveillance against crowds and protesters. Now, the Obama administration is selling 10 Apache military helicopters to the country (Photo Credit: Ken Ishii/Getty Images).

By Nate Smith, Chairperson – Military, Security and Police Transfers Co-Group, Amnesty International USA

When a government violates human rights on a mass scale – jailing opposition activists and journalists on trumped up charges, arresting hundreds of protesters at once, passing draconian laws to suppress public opinion – they should be held accountable. It’s not always a clear-cut or simple task for the international community, but we must identify some simple dos and don’ts.

Do: Provide support for human rights and government accountability.

Don’t: Sell advanced, highly lethal killing machines to a government engaged in a crackdown on personal freedoms.

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Justice for Syrians in 6 Steps [INFOGRAPHIC]

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SYRIA INFO

Congress is debating whether to authorize the President to use force in response to allegations that Syria used chemical weapons against opponents of the government.

Although Amnesty International has not taken – and is not likely to take – a position on the appropriateness of armed intervention, we believe the debate in Congress is inadequate, as it does not address many of the pressing issues of the Syrian crisis.

Accordingly, we have identified several steps that should be taken in response to this crisis, no matter where one lands, for or against, the use of force. They are as follows:

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