Convicted charged with murder of policeman
An Egyptian court has sentenced a total of 529 supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood to death on charges of murdering a policeman, as well as the attempted murder of two others during the protests in Cairo last August.
They are also found guilty of setting fire to public property including a police station, as well as seizing police weapons during violent clashes between Brotherhood supporters and the security forces in Rabaa Square last year, according to Egyptian state media.
Brotherhood supporters occupied Egypts squares last August in protest at the ousting of former president Mohamed Mursi in July. The sit-ins lasted for weeks until security forces cleared the squares, resulting in clashes and the death of more than 1,000 people.
Out of the 529 convicted defendants, a total of 382 were not present during the trials and remain on the run. They have been tried and convicted in absentia.
The sentencing is thought to be the biggest capital punishment verdict to date in the history of the Egyptian courts. The court delivered the verdict without hearing the defence arguments, according to local news agency Ahram Online.
The cases are now due to be referred to the Grand Mufti, who is the highest official governing sharia-compliant laws in a Muslim country. The defendants are expected to appeal.
Egypts current government has been clamping down on the Muslim Brotherhood ever since the ousting of former Brotherhood-backed President Mursi last July. Since then, the organisation has been further marginalised, having formally been made illegal.
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