Egypt: 529 Muslim Brotherhood members sentenced to death
An Egyptian court has sentenced to death 529 supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi.
Muslim Brotherhood members were convicted of charges including murdering a policeman and attacks on people and property.
The group is among over 1,200 supporters of Mohamed Morsi on trial, including senior Muslim Brotherhood members.
Authorities have cracked down harshly on Islamists since Mohamed Morsi was removed by the military in July. Hundreds have been killed and thousands arrested.
They are expected to appeal.
The verdict now goes to Egypt’s supreme religious authority, the Grand Mufti, for approval or rejection.
Campaigners say that while death sentences are often handed down in Egypt, few have been carried out in recent years.
The final trial session will not be held until April 28, so there is some time left before the sentence is confirmed and there will be time to appeal in that period.
The court in Minya, south of Cairo, issued its ruling after only two sessions in which the defendants’ lawyers complained they had no chance to present their case.
Lawyers have accused the presiding judge of “veering away from all legal norms” and denying justice to the accused, our correspondent adds.
They were convicted, among other charges, of the murder of the deputy commander of the Matay district police station in Minya.
More than 150 suspects were in court for the trial – the others were convicted in absentia, reports say.
The court also acquitted 16 other defendants.
The attacks took place in August after security forces broke up two camps of pro-Morsi supporters in Cairo, killing hundreds of people.
Mohamed Morsi was ousted by the military in July 2013 following mass street protests against his government.
A second group of 700 Mohamed Morsi supporters is due to go on trial on Tuesday.
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