683 Muslim Brotherhood supporters sentenced to death

Updated - May 21, 2016 01:45 pm IST

Published - April 28, 2014 08:04 pm IST - DUBAI

An Egyptian court has added yet another dimension to the ongoing crackdown against the supporters of deposed President Mohamed Morsy by sentencing to death 683 backers of the Muslim Brotherhood, including the organisation’s Supreme Guide, Mohamed Badie.

A court in the city of Minya, found the defendants guilty of attacking a police station on August 14, 2013, which led to the killing of a police officer. The assault apparently followed the crackdown on two pro-Morsy encampments in Cairo that led to the deaths of at least 1,000 supporters of the deposed President.

The defendants were also found guilty of inciting and committing violence, rioting, and destroying public and private property. The Grand Mufti of the country must now ratify the verdict, before the sentences can be carried out. The final judgment will be passed on June 21, after the Grand Mufti has arrived at a conclusion.

On Monday, intervention by the Grand Mufti spared the lives of 492 people out of a group of 529 who had been sentenced to death by the same court in March. The Minya court pronounced that only 37 will now face capital punishment, while the rest will spend the remaining part of their lives in jail.

In the shadow of the court verdict, the interim Egyptian administration is engaged in hectic preparations for fresh Presidential elections next month in the hope of overriding the storm that has been stirred by its heavy crackdown against the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters.

Seeking legitimacy, Field Marshall Abel Fattah El-Sisi — the mastermind behind Mr. Morsy’s exit — is standing in the two-day presidential elections that commence on May 26. Analysts say that there is little doubt that the former military chief will win the polls, where he has to contend with only one candidate — Hamdeen Sabahi, who had stood third in the elections that had brought Mr. Morsy to power. The deposed President’s supporters and pro-Brotherhood political parties have called for a boycott of the upcoming elections.

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