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183 Morsi supporters get death sentences

Xinhua | Updated: 2014-06-21 18:30

CAIRO - An Egyptian court upheld on Saturday death sentences for 183 supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi, including Mohamed Badie, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood from which Morsi hails, the official news agency MENA reported.

They were charged with deadly riots in the Upper Egyptian province of Minya.

State-run Ahram newspaper said on its website that the same court commuted death sentences of four to life imprisonment and acquitted 496 other defendants.

In April, the court initially sentenced all 683 defendants to death and referred those sentences to the Grand Mufti, the country 's highest Islamic official whose opinion is usually considered a formality.

In March, the Minya court caused huge international outrage after it referred 529 supporters of the ousted president Morsi to Mufti after handing them death sentences.

The initial mass death sentences have triggered international outrage, but the then-justice minister asserted the Egyptian judiciary was "independent."

On Thursday, Badie was sentenced to death penalty by a different court in a separate case over charges of inciting violence in Giza, close to the capital Cairo.

Violence has broken out following the July ouster of Morsi by the military over mass protests against him and his Islamist group.

Since the Morsi ouster, the government has conducted a series of mass trials of his supporters.

Morsi himself faces trials including ordering the killing of protesters and spying for Palestinian Hamas movement and insulting the judiciary.

Former army chief Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, who was behind the Morsi removal, won the May presidential elections.

In late December last year, Egypt blacklisted the Brotherhood as "a terrorist organization" as it accused the Islamist group of behind the violence that rocked the country after the Morsi removal.

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