Egyptian Courts Overturn Death Sentences for 149 Muslim Brotherhood Members

by Jonathan WalshRabat – An appeals court in Egypt overturned on Wednesday the death sentences of 149 members of the country’s Muslim Brotherhood party, who were convicted for their involvement in the deaths of police officers in August 2013.Last February, 189 people had been sentenced to death in connection with the incident although over 30 of these still remain charged. They were found guilty  and have not yet surrendered, according to reports by AFP. The incident in question took place on August 16th 2013, when Egyptian security forces killed hundreds as they broke up protest camps set up following Mohammed Morsi’s ousting as President. The protests reflected the mass opposition to Morsi’s tenure as leader of Egypt.Supporters of the Brotherhood then attacked police stations in Kerdasa and Minya in retaliation, which resulted in the death of 16 police officers.Mr. Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, was the country’s first democratically elected president. He was himself sentenced to death in May of 2015, having escaped imprisonment for allegedly inciting members of the Brotherhood to carry out attacks during his demise.Founded in 1928, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood says its goal is to be a peaceful movement that values democratic principles whilst seeking ultimately to create a state governed by Islamic Law.Despite this, Egyptian courts dissolved the Muslim Brotherhood’s political body, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), in 2014. Egypt’s current leader, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, has also declared his intentions to eradicate the group altogether, which he believes “poses a major security threat to the country.”Amnesty International, among other human rights organizations, have condemned El-Sisi’s attitudes towards religious freedom, stating that, under his control, there has been a “dramatic deterioration in human rights.” read more

Football New NCAA rules create depth for Ohio State

Urban Meyer watches the 2018 Spring Game from the 50 yard line in Ohio Stadium on April 14. Credit: Nick Clarkson | Social Media EditorAccording to a new rule the NCAA set in place on Wednesday for the upcoming football season, players can now participate in any four games in a single year and still use a redshirt for that season. Still limited to four full seasons in a span of five years, this rule change differs from the rule initially set in place, that players who take one snap in one game have burned their collegiate redshirt for their career.Now, programs like Ohio State have the opportunity to give freshmen in-game experience at any point in the season, allowing coaches to have more depth at the end of the season for postseason play. “Coaches will appreciate the additional flexibility and ability to give younger players an opportunity to participate in limited competition,” Division I council chair Blake James said via press release.Also, if players suffer an early season injury, that could count as their redshirt season, instead of having to spend one season of eligibility on the bench. For Ohio State, this provides an instant opportunity for players in its 2018 recruiting class to get playing time during their first season at the college level. With many opportunities for players in the 2018 class to make a significant contribution during their first season, such as four-star tight end Jeremy Ruckert, four-star defensive tackle Tommy Togiai and five-star athlete Tyreke Johnson — who has been practicing at cornerback since he arrived as an early enrollee — there is one position in particular that could thrive with this new rule being put in place. With J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber slated for the majority of the carries, the Buckeyes have a drop-off in experienced depth at the running back position after Antonio Williams transferred to North Carolina on April 23. Now, two members of the 2018 class, four-star running back Master Teague and four-star running back Brian Snead will battle for playing time as the No. 3 back on the depth chart. A native of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Teague, the No. 11 running back recruit in the country according to the 247Sports composite rankings, arrived at Ohio State as an early enrollee in January. Despite missing his senior season of high school due to an ankle injury, he has been described by both players and coaches alike as a strong and physical back during reps in spring practice. Snead, the No. 3 running back in the 2018 class and the No. 80 player overall in the 247Sports composite rankings, recorded 48 touchdowns during his career at Armwood High School in Seffner, Florida. Along with Snead and Teague, Jaelen Gill, a four-star recruit from Westerville, will join the Buckeyes for the 2018 season as a running back recruit in theory. However, many say that Gill will follow the path of players like Curtis Samuel and Demario McCall as a future h-back at Ohio State. With this new rule put in place for the 2018 season, Urban Meyer and the rest of the coaching staff now have more depth on the roster to utilize throughout the season. read more