25 Mar 2014

Death sentences handed to 529

6:03 am on 25 March 2014

An Egyptian court has sentenced 529 supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi to death on charges including murder.

A defence lawyer said they were convicted of charges including murdering a policeman and attacking police, the BBC reports.

The group, members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood, are part of a larger trial involving more than 1200 Morsi supporters.

It's the biggest mass death sentence handed out in Egypt's modern history and there are fears it will once more throw the country into political turmoil.

Egyptian authorities have cracked down harshly on Islamists since Mr Morsi was removed in July, with thousands have been arrested and hundreds killed.

The court in Minya, south of capital Cairo, issued its ruling after only two sessions in which the defendants' lawyers complained they had no chance to present their case, the Associated Press news agency reports.

The alleged attacks are said to have taken place in southern Egypt in August after security forces broke up two Cairo protest camps of Morsi supporters demanding his reinstatement.

In the backlash that followed, hundreds of people were killed.