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Egypt court confirms mass death sentences

Cairo, June 21 (Reuters): An Egyptian court yesterday confirmed death sentences against the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and 182 supporters, in a mass trial of Islamists who ruled Egypt for a year but face a fierce crackdown under the new President, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

Mohamed Badie and other defendants were charged in connection with violence that erupted in the southern town of Minya following the ousting of the Brotherhood’s President Mohamed Mursi last July, led by then army chief Sisi.

One police officer was killed in the violence.

The court’s decision came two months after it referred the case against Badie, general guide of the now outlawed Brotherhood, and 682 other defendants to a top religious authority, the first step to imposing death penalties.

Those preliminary sentences triggered outrage among western governments and rights groups, with the United States and European Union both saying they were appalled by the rulings.

Since Mursi’s overthrow, which was followed by protests by his supporters, hundreds of Islamist protesters have been killed and thousands jailed in a crackdown by security forces. Five hundred army and police officers have also been killed.

Sisi, who won a presidential election last month, said in the run-up to the vote that the Brotherhood — Egypt’s oldest, most organised and successful political group — was finished and would not exist under his rule.

Amnesty International described the verdicts as “the latest example of the Egyptian judiciary’s bid to crush dissent”.

There was no immediate reaction on the ruling from the Brotherhood, whose members are either in jail or on the run.

 
 
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