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Mon 28 Apr 2014 12:32 PM

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Egyptian court recommends death sentence for 683 defendants

Decision is part of Egypt's biggest ever trial case and will be passed on to Egypt's Mufti for his opinion

Egyptian court recommends death sentence for 683 defendants
Egyptian Muslim brotherhood and supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi rally outside Egypts Supreme Constitutional Court in Cairo on November 4, 2013.

An Egyptian court has recommended the death
sentence for the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and 682 supporters, and
handed down a final capital punishment ruling for 37 others, judicial sources
said on Monday.

Seeking the death penalty for Mohamed Badie, the
Brotherhood's general guide, is certain to raise tension in Egypt, which has
been gripped by turmoil since the army removed the Brotherhood from power last
year.

The 37 death sentences were part of a final
judgement on 529 Muslim Brotherhood supporters who were sentenced to death last
month. The remaining defendants were sentenced to life in jail.

Death sentence recommendations in the case
involving Badie will be passed on to Egypt's Mufti, the highest religious
authority. His opinion is not legally binding and can be ignored by the court.

The biggest trials in Egypt's modern history have
reinforced fears among human rights groups that the military-backed government
and anti-Islamist judges are bent on crushing dissent.

The authorities have branded the Brotherhood a
terrorist group, an allegation it denies.

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