Egypt court sentences nearly 700 Muslim Brotherhood supporters to death

Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie

An Egyptian court has recommended the death sentence for the leader of the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood and 682 supporters, state television said on Monday.

The same court also handed down a final capital punishment ruling for 37 others.

Charges in both cases, which were tried by the same judge, are related to violent riots in the central Egyptian city of Minya in August, including the murder of a police officer.

Mohammed Badie, the Brotherhood’s general guide, is among 683 supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi whose death sentences are not final – as the case has been referred to the nation’s Grand Mufti, Egypt’s highest religious authority, for review.

In the second case relating to 529 Muslim Brotherhood supporters sentenced to death last month, the judge upheld 37 death sentences. The rest saw their sentences commuted to life in prison.

Most of the people sentenced are being tried in absentia. All defendants are still permitted to appeal.

Egypt has faced unending turmoil since the uprising that toppled longtime leader Hosni Mubarak in 2011. Since the army removed the Brotherhood from power last July, the country has suffered the worst internal strife in its modern history. Morsi and other Brotherhood leaders were rounded up soon after his removal from office.

Cairo’s military-installed government has branded the Brotherhood a terrorist group, an allegation it denies.

April 6 movement

Meanwhile, a court in Cairo has ordered the  prohibition of all activities of April 6 Youth Movement on charges of working to distort the image of the Egyptian state and espionage, state media has reported.

The lawsuit had been filed by a lawyer, Ashraf Saeed, who was seeking to suspend the group’s activities. The lawyer also called on the government led by Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb to seize the group’s headquarters and assets.

According to local media, April 6 may appeal the Court’s decision. If the appeal is unsuccessful, the President must then issue a decree officially ordering the ban of the group’s activities.

The Cairo Court’s decision came a day after the group organized demonstrations against the protest law in Egypt. Demonstrators had marched peacefully to the Presidential Palace calling for the release of detainees that had been arrested for protesting.

Earlier this year, the co-founder of the youth movement, Ahmed Maher, was sentenced to three years in prison for protesting without a permit under Egypt’s new anti-protest laws.

The April 6 Youth Movement was established in 2008 and played a significant role in organizing and holding nationwide protests that later became known as the January 25 revolution in 2011.

The movement had been started by activists Ahmed Maher and Ahmed Salah to support striking industrial workers in El-Mahalla El-Kubra in April 2008. It was the first youth movement in Egypt to utilize internet communications to promote grass-roots initiatives.

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