CAIRO: Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood leader went on trial yesterday along with hundreds of other Islamists before the same judge who triggered a global outcry when he sentenced 529 convicted rioters to death.
The trial of Mohamed Badie and around 700 supporters of deposed president Mohamed Mursi was adjourned after just a few hours until April 28, when judgement and sentencing is expected, a lawyer said.
Defence lawyers boycotted yesterday’s session of the trial in the city of Minya, south of Cairo, branding it “farcical” after Monday’s mass sentencing which the UN denounced as a breach of international human rights law.
Badie, who faces several other trials that could also result in the death penalty, was not brought to court yesterday for security reasons.
The charges stem from rioting last August, sparked when security forces stormed two Brotherhood sit-ins in Cairo, killing hundreds of people. Only 60 of the 683 defendants were in the dock yesterday. The rest are being tried in absentia.
Meanwhile, the US escalated its criticism of Egypt over mass trials targeting the Muslim Brotherhood, and said it would be “unconscionable” for Egypt’s government to carry out the death sentences given to 529 members of the outlawed Islamist group.
US State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said the way Egypt proceeds regarding the trials and death sentences will have consequences for future American aid. The death sentences handed down on Monday by an Egyptian court and the start of another mass trial of the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and 682 others “represent a flagrant disregard for basic standards of justice,” Harf said. Agencies