Egypt: 529 Morsi supporters sentenced to death in mass trial
Five-hundred-and-twenty-nine supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi have been sentenced to death in an Egypt court today.
They were convicted of murdering a policeman and attacking police, after only two sessions in one of the largest mass trials in the country in decades.
The verdicts are subject to appeal and would likely be overturned, rights lawyers said.
However, they said the swiftness and harshness of the rulings on such a large scale underlined the extent to which Egypt's courts have been politicised and due process has been ignored amid a sweeping crackdown on Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood supporters since the military removed the president last summer.
On tomorrow, another mass trial against Morsi's supporters opens in a Minya court with 683 suspects facing similar charges.
The defendants in that case include Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie, who also faces multiple other trials, and senior members of the group from Minya province.
Egypt's military toppled Morsi in July after four days of massive demonstrations by his opponents demanding he step down for abusing power during his year in office.
Since then, Morsi's Brotherhood and other Islamist supporters have staged near-daily demonstrations that usually descend into violent street confrontations with security forces.
The military-backed government has arrested some 16,000 people in the ensuing crackdown, including most of the Brotherhood leadership.
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