03/25/2014, 00.00
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Muslim Brotherhood leader and 680 other Islamists on trial

The accused go before the same court that yesterday sentenced to death 528 supporters of ousted President Morsi in a verdict that has raised concerns and caused negative reactions in the United States and Europe.

Cairo (AsiaNews/Agencies) - About 680 supporters of Egypt's ousted President Mohamed Morsi, including the Muslim Brotherhood's supreme guide of Mohammed Badie (pictured), went on trial today.

The trial is being held in the same court in Minya, south of Cairo, where 528 Morsi supporters were sentenced to death yesterday for killing two police officers and engaging in acts of violence against people and property during protests last August.

Badie and others face charges of inciting violence and murder over the deaths of eight anti-Brotherhood protesters outside the movement's headquarters in Cairo last year.

Yesterday's sentence will be certainly appealed. Meanwhile, it has raised concern and caused protest, not only from the Muslim Brotherhood, but also in the United States and Europe as well as among human rights groups.

Marie Harf, deputy spokeswoman for the United States State Department, noted that the trial against 529 defendants could not be completed in two days. "It sort of defies logic," she said, adding that Washington was "deeply concerned" and "shocked".

EU foreign policy Chief Catherine Ashton said that "capital punishment can never be justified" and urged Egyptian authorities to grant defendants "the right to a fair and timely trial".

For legal experts, the verdicts will be likely quashed because the rights of the accused were clearly violated.

Short of that, many expect the death sentences to be commuted to life in prison.

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