Totalitarian prosecutions in the last 3 years: Georgia, Cuba, Turkey

by WorldTribune Staff, August 16, 2023

With the indictment of former President Donald Trump and 18 of his associates, Georgia joins an ignoble club of heavy handed prosecutions in which members of political opposition are subjected to mass trials while being accorded few rights, an analysis said.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis

“At a press conference near midnight on Monday, Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis said she intended to try all 19 defendants at once, though one, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, has already demanded a federal trial,” Breitbart’s Joel B. Pollak noted in an Aug. 15 analysis.

Pollak noted that Georgia now joins the “unfortunate totalitarian tradition” of mass trials targeting political dissent.

Those nations where such spectacles took place are not exactly beacons of freedom.

In 2022, the communist dictatorship in Cuba carried out a mass trial for 21 protesters and dissidents.

As Breitbart News reported:

Cuban communist authorities held a trial culminating on Friday for 21 protesters who took to the streets on July 11 to protest against communism, prosecuting children and adults with mental health issues along with healthy adults in one mass trial.

A prosecutorial indictment from Holguín, eastern Cuba, obtained by Breitbart News and verified by sources familiar with the proceedings, documented a mass trial for 21 people ranging in age from 16 to 59. The individuals were all allegedly present during the same protest on July 11 and all face the charge of “sedition.” Yet the detailed “crimes” in question vary widely, from allegations of punching and stoning police officers to filming a protest to simply being present during what the prosecutor in charge described as a “tumult” meant to incite “counterrevolutionary” thinking.

In 2020, Turkey, run by democratically-elected autocrat Recep Tayyip Erdogan, sentenced nearly 500 people to life in prison in one trial for their alleged participation in a 2016 coup attempt. That would be the same coup that was “cheered by some of the same Democrats who later impeached Trump,” Pollak noted.

Breitbart reported:

The defendant Erdogan is most eager to put on trial remains elusive, as the United States refuses to extradite alleged coup mastermind Fethullah Gulen, a longtime resident of Pennsylvania. Gulen has vehemently denied any involvement in the incident and the U.S. government has asserted it also has no evidence suggesting he was involved.

Almost 100,000 arrests have been made in connection with the coup attempt since 2016, and at least 150,000 Turkish citizens have been fired from their jobs over suspected links to the Hizmet religious and political group created by Gulen. Erdogan and his officials refer to this group as the Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETO).

In 2014, Egypt tried 170 supporters of the ousted, elected (and Islamist) former president, sentencing some to death: “A pair of Egyptian courts on Sunday convicted 170 suspected supporters of toppled President Mohammed Morsi on charges related to violent attacks last year, the country’s latest mass trials ahead of this month’s presidential elections,” Breitbart reported. “The convictions in the courts in Cairo and in the Nile Delta city of Kafr el-Sheikh are the latest in a series over recent months that saw hundreds of people prosecutors identified as Morsi supporters sentenced to death or imprisonment.”

In 1956, the apartheid regime in South Africa tried 156 defendants at once for opposing the government’s racial discrimination policies. In what became known as the Treason Trial, charges were slowly dropped and the defendants were eventually acquitted.

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