(BEIRUT) — An Egyptian court sentenced 683 people to death on Monday.
They are alleged supporters of the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood as well as one of its most senior leaders, the spiritual guide. These verdicts can be appealed and must be approved by Egypt’s religious authority, the grand mufti.
Last month, the same judge sentenced 529 Islamists to death. Of those, 37 were upheld on Monday while the rest were reduced to 25-year sentences.
The mass trials and death sentences are part of Egypt’s growing crackdown against Islamists who support ousted President Mohammed Morsi.
Hundreds of Brotherhood supporters have been arrested and killed since Morsi was ousted last July in a military coup. It was led by then-Defense Minister Abdel Fattah el Sisi. An interim government was installed with the military still controlling the levers of power.
Sisi has resigned his post as defense minister and is now running for president in elections planned for the end of May that he is all but certain to win.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
Michael Pearson and Steve Almasy, CNN
Euan McKirdy, Bryony Jones and Barry Neild, CNN