Tight security in Egypt's Minya after death sentences

Egyptian authorities have beefed up security around police stations in the Upper Egyptian province of Minya after a local court sentenced 37 supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi to death

Egyptian authorities have beefed up security around police stations in the Upper Egyptian province of Minya after a local court sentenced 37 supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi to death

MINYA, Egypt – Egyptian authorities have beefed up security around police stations in the Upper Egyptian province of Minya after a local court sentenced 37 supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi to death and 491 others to life in prison.

Security forces erected barricades around the courthouse immediately after the judge issued the verdicts against hundreds of Morsi backers.

Police reinforcements were also dispatched to local police stations in the province in anticipation of protests by angry relatives, according to an Anadolu Agency reporter on the ground.

Students of Minya Universality have already staged a protest to denounce the verdicts.

The court sentenced 37 Morsi supporters to death on charges of attacking police stations and committing acts of violence in Minya last August.

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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