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Mass trial of 683 Brotherhood defendants starts

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-03-26 14:01

CAIRO - An Egyptian court on Tuesday began a mass trial of 683 Muslim Brotherhood defendants, including the group's top leader Mohamed Badie, on charges including murder, official news agency MENA reported.

The trial comes a day after the same court in the Upper Egyptian Minya province sentenced 529 supporters of the Islamist group to death for assaulting police stations and killing an officer.

Roughly 1,200 defendants in Minya are accused of attempted murder of several policemen, attacking police premises in Mattai district, after the dispersal of a major sit-in staged by supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi in Cairo last August.

The Islamist suspects were also accused of breaking into governmental institutions, shooting randomly on security men, stealing police weapons, and burning police stations, along with terrorizing local residents and disturbing public peace.

Though Monday's death sentences will be appealed at the Court of Cassation, the verdict drew condemnation of rights groups, the United States and the European Union, deeming the rulings the " fastest" ones as they were issued in just two days with the largest number sentenced to death.

Security forces intensified its presence outside the court, rejected the opening of any adjacent stores and halted traffic in the surrounding streets as precautionary measures, MENA added.

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