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Egyptian Judge Confirms Death Sentence Of More Than 180

Relatives of a Muslim Brotherhood member who was sentenced to death react to the verdict outside a courtroom in Minya, Egypt, on Saturday.
Ravy Shaker

An Egyptian judge has confirmed the death penalty for more than 180 people, including the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood's spiritual leader.

The same judge had originally sentenced 683 people to the death penalty back in April over the attack of a police station that left one officer dead.

The Guardian explains:

"The court's decision came two months after it referred the case against the Brotherhood's 'general guide,' Mohamed Badie, and hundreds of others to the state's highest religious authority, the grand mufti, the first step towards imposing a death sentence. ...

"Lawyers say the ruling can be overturned on appeal. It was not immediately clear how many sentences had been confirmed, with the lawyers giving estimates ranging from 182 to 197. In either case, it would be largest mass death sentence to be confirmed in Egypt in recent memory."

The BBC's Bethany Bell reports that the judge in the case, Sa'ed Yusef Sabri, "has a draconian reputation" and is known as the "the butcher."

She adds that human rights activists claim Yusef did not observe due process and that the verdicts were politically motivated.

If you remember, Egypt's current government is headed by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a former general who spearheaded a popular coup against the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi.

The current regime has carried out a strong crackdown against the Islamist party in the country.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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