Daily Israel Report

Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Leader Faces Trial

After court sentences 529 Islamists to death Monday, Brotherhood's 'spiritual leader' among nearly 700 more in the dock.
By Ari Soffer
First Publish: 3/25/2014, 3:40 PM

Muslim Brotherhood's supreme guide Mohammed Badie
Muslim Brotherhood's supreme guide Mohammed Badie
Reuters

One day after an Egyptian court sentenced 529 supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood to death, a further 682 Islamists are facing trial Tuesday.

Among them is the Brotherhood's spiritual leader, Mohammed Badie, who was arrested last August after a brief spell in hiding, following the ouster of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi.

Badie himself was not in court "for security reasons", according to officials.

Today's trial relates to an attack on a police station in the central Egyptian city of Minya last August, during weeks of protests over Morsi's ouster by the military. No police were reported killed in the attack.

As in Monday's trial - which related to an attack on another Minya police station - many of those facing charges were being tried in absentia.

Several defense lawyers reportedly boycotted the proceedings, while others demanded that the presiding judge, Saed Youssef, recuse himself, since he had also presided over yesterday's controversial case, according to the BBC.

Egyptian authorities have cracked down harshly on Islamists since Morsi was removed in July. Thousands have been arrested in the clashes and hundreds killed.

The court in Minya, south of the capital, Cairo, issued Monday's ruling after only two sessions in which the defendants' lawyers complained they had no chance to present their case. The ruling drew criticism from the US, where officials voiced concerns that the defendants did not receive a fair trial.

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.

The Egyptian government has since declared the Brotherhood a "terrorist" group.