Egypt sentences 37 Morsi backers to death, 491 to life

An Egyptian court on Monday sentenced 37 supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi to death and 491 others to life in prison while referring 683 others to the country's mufti for possible death sentences against them

An Egyptian court on Monday sentenced 37 supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi to death and 491 others to life in prison while referring 683 others to the country's mufti for possible death sentences against them

MINYA, Egypt – An Egyptian court on Monday sentenced 37 supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi to death and 491 others to life in prison while referring 683 others to the country's mufti for possible death sentences against them, judicial sources said.

According to the sources, the court sentenced 37 Morsi supporters to death on charges of committing acts of violence in the Upper Egyptian province of Minya last August after security forces violently dispersed two pro-Morsi sit-ins in Cairo and Giza, killing hundreds of protesters in the process.  

It also slapped 491 other defendants with life terms on the same charges.

The verdicts came after the court had consulted the grand mufti, Egypt's top religious official, for a non-binding procedural review.

The court rulings are appealable, according to the judicial sources.

Meanwhile, the same court referred 683 more Morsi backers, including Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie, to the mufti in anticipation of possible death sentences against them.

The ruling came after finding them guilty of attacking a local police station in Minya and endangering public peace.

The court set June 21 to issue its verdicts against the 683 defendants.

Egypt's army-backed authorities have launched a massive crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood since Morsi's ouster by the army last July.

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

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