Egypt court confirms death sentence on Brotherhood leader

Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie speaks before judge after getting out of a defendant cage during his trial in Cairo, Egypt. Photo - AP / File
An Egyptian court has confirmed death sentences for 183 Islamists, including Muslim Brotherhood chief Mohamed Badie, a prosecutor said, after a speedy mass trial that sparked an international outcry.
The court\’s decision came two months after it referred the case against the Brotherhood\’s general guide Mohamed Badie and hundreds of others to the state\’s highest religious authority, the Mufti, the first step towards imposing a death sentence.
Saturday\’s verdict was delivered by a court in the town of Minya, south of Cairo.
Four of the defendants were given sentences of 15-25 years in jail and the rest were acquitted.
A judge had recommended the death penalty for the 683 defendants, in a widely-criticised mass trial in April.
Mohammed Badie, leader of the banned group, was among those whose sentences were upheld. Appeals are now likely.
The military-installed government has sentenced hundreds of its opponents since December.
The defendants were accused of involvement in the murder and attempted murder of policemen in Minya province on 14 August 2013, the day police killed hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters in clashes in Cairo.
They were charged over violence that erupted in the southern Egyptian town of Minya in July in the aftermath of the army\’s ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi, a senior Brotherhood member, after mass protests against his rule. One senior police officer was killed in the violence.Saturday\’s decision comes just two weeks after former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi took office as president after winning an election in May. 
Sisi led the overthrow of Mursi which was followed by protests by Mursi\’s supporters and a crackdown by security forces in which hundreds of Islamist protesters were killed and thousands jailed. In a separate case, a Cairo court referred Badie and 13 other Brotherhood supporters on Thursday to the Mufti on charges of murder and firearms possession related to clashes during the protests last July. Around 500 army and police officers have been killed since Mursi\’s fall.
Badie and other senior Brotherhood leaders including Mursi are standing trial in other cases.
Source – Reuters and agencies
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