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An Egyptian court sentenced to death 529 members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood on Monday on a variety of charges, including murdering a police officer and attacking police, according to reports published this morning.
Among the accused are several key figures of deposed President Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, one of whom is spiritual leader Mohammed Badie.
Since last July, when the national army deposed Morsi — Egypt’s first elected and civilian president — political turmoil has enveloped the nation of roughly 80 million. Hundreds of Brotherhood members have been killed and thousands more arrested.
Monday’s announcement is likely to worsen Islamist-secular tension.
It represents one of the most sweeping actions against the Brotherhood since Field Marshal Abdel Fatah al-Sisi took power.
“The court has decided to sentence to death 529 defendants, and 16 were acquitted,” lawyer Ahmed al-Sharif told Reuters. The defendants have been on trial since Saturday in Minya south of the capital. The sentence arrived on the second day of the hearing.
On August 14, security forces broke up several protests in Cairo that had been organized by the Muslim Brotherhood, and the defendants were charged with attacking people and destroying property during that melee. In addition, the defendants were accused of committing acts of violence that ultimately killed two policemen in Minya.