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Security-Related Charges and Designations

Adwa Case

Court / Presiding Judge

First Review: Minya Criminal Court/Judge Said Youssef al-Sattar
Second Review: Minya Criminal Court/Judge Sulaiman Atta al-Shahed

Procedural History

On June 21, 2014, the court issued its verdict. Upon a Court of Cassation ruling ordering a retrial in February 2015, the court issued its verdict upon second review on September 23, 2018.


Upon initial review, the court sentenced 183 defendants to death and four defendants to life in prison; it acquitted 496 defendants. Thereafter, the Court of Cassation ordered a retrial. Upon second review, the court sentenced 88 defendants to life in prison and tens of defendants to prison sentences between two and 15 years in prison; the court acquitted 463 defendants.

Summary of Reasoning

The case dates back to violence that occurred in Adwa in the aftermath of the Raba’a al-Adaweya and Nahda Square sit-in dispersals in August 2013. The defendants faced charges of murder, the attempted murder of five people, threatening public order, and burning the Adwa police station.

Anecdotal Notes

Various United Nations human rights experts commented on the case: “By imposing mass death sentences on several occasions over the past two years, the Egyptian courts have shown their utter disregard for the right to life as protected under international law." Organizations including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty also publicly spoke out about the case and the procedural irregularities involved in a speedy mass trial. In May 2019, President Abdel-Fattah El Sisi issued a pardon for 560 individuals—among them 35 defendants in the Adwa Case.

Legal & Judicial Implications

Because the case is a mass trial in which a number of defendants were prosecuted collectively and in a speedy manner, the case raises numerous implications regarding the right to a fair trial and due process. Although some defendants were ultimately pardoned in this case, a pardon is a band-aid solution to a deep-seated institutional need for legal and judicial reform.