CAIRO — Hatem Zaghloul is just 17 and sentenced to die, one of 529 defendants an Egyptian judge condemned en masse two months ago in the killing of a single policeman, a case that has stirred disbelief and dismay both at home and abroad. Now his fearful father, Ahmed, wonders whether the expected election victory this week of former Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi will make matters worse, or offer some faint ray of hope.

To those who have been targeted in one of the harshest and most sustained crackdowns on government opponents in a nation long known for its autocratic leadership, the overriding question is whether el-Sissi, bolstered by the voting results, will feel confident enough in his standing to ease the starkly repressive measures that have marked the last 11 months, or whether the new administration will double down on muzzling dissent from secularists and Islamists alike.

“Many people are hoping that arrests and verdicts will calm down a bit after a president has been elected,” the elder Zaghloul said of the balloting Monday and Tuesday. But public statements by el-Sissi, including his assertion that the Muslim Brotherhood will be eradicated and that a tough anti-protest law is both necessary and justified, lead rights advocates to worry that the worst may be yet to come.

Supporters of Mohamed Morsi, the Islamist who was Egypt’s first freely elected president, have borne the brunt of the interim government’s campaign to stamp out dissent. Rights groups estimate that 1,000 pro-Morsi protesters were killed in the violent dispersal of protest camps in mid-August, six weeks after the coup that deposed Morsi.

Hundreds more have died in near-daily confrontations with security forces under order to move aggressively against demonstrations demanding Morsi’s reinstatement. In the latest clash, two young protesters were killed Friday in the town of Fayoum, south of Cairo.

By official estimates, 16,000 people, most of them Morsi backers, have been jailed by authorities since July, and rights groups believe the figure is considerably higher.

Prison conditions are harsh, and mass trials, offering little in the way of due process, have become commonplace. Egypt’s once-respected judiciary has become a key instrument in the crackdown not only against the Brotherhood, which has been banned and branded a terrorist organization, but against a smaller number of secular activists as well.

Over the months, fundamental freedom has come under systematic assault.

An errant Twitter message can result in a prosecutor’s summons, and almost anyone can find themselves under suspicion of terrorist sympathies, even a much-loved Muppet-like television character.

Although el-Sissi is expected to handily defeat his only opponent, liberal politician Hamdeen Sabahi, a lopsided vote is unlikely to be a true reflection of public sentiment. That is partly because many of those who oppose him plan to express that by staying away from the polls.