Most Minya convicts not Brotherhood members: Lawyer

Most Minya convicts not Brotherhood members: Lawyer

Most Minya convicts not Brotherhood members: Lawyer

CAIRO – Most of the 529 defendants sentenced to death for violence in a preliminary court decision in the Upper Egyptian city of Minya on Monday aren't Muslim Brotherhood members, according to a lawyer for the Islamist group.

"The number of Brotherhood members in the case is minimal," lawyer Ali Kamal told Anadolu Agency on Wednesday.

He did not, however, give the number of Brotherhood members convicted among the group.

"The media deliberately referred to all trial defendants as 'Brotherhood members' to give the impression that the group is in conflict with the people," Kamal said.

A criminal court in the Upper Egyptian province of Minya on Monday condemned 529 supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi, a Brotherhood leader himself, to death. Sixteen others were acquitted.

The defendants, including 397 tried in absentia, were convicted for committing acts of violence in Minya last August after security forces in Cairo and Giza violently dispersed two pro-Morsi sit-ins, killing hundreds of protesters in the process.

The court has since referred the sentences to the grand mufti, Egypt's top religious official, for a non-binding procedural review.

The death sentences – the biggest in Egypt's modern history – have sparked outrage among international rights organizations and drawn condemnation from the West.

Egypt's army-backed authorities have launched a massive crackdown on the Brotherhood, which propelled Morsi to power in 2012 polls, since the latter's ouster last July.

In the almost nine months since, thousands of the groups' members and sympathizers have been arrested.

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