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Egypt sentences 529 Morsi supporters to death

A court in Egypt has sentenced to death 529 supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

They were convicted of charges including murdering a policeman and attacks on people and property.

The group, members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood, are part of a larger trial of more than 1,200 Morsi supporters.

Authorities have cracked down harshly on Islamists since Mr Morsi was removed by the military in July. Hundreds have been killed and thousands arrested.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s general guide Mohammed Badie was among those convicted.

The group is expected to appeal.

The court in Minya, south of the capital, Cairo, issued its ruling after only two sessions in which the defendants’ lawyers complained they had no chance to present their case, the Associated Press news agency reports.

They were convicted, among other charges, of the murder of the deputy commander of the Matay district police station in Minya, south of Egypt.

More than 150 suspects were in court for the trial – the others were convicted in absentia.

The court also acquitted 16 other defendants.

The attacks took place in southern Egypt in August after security forces broke up two camps of pro-Morsi supporters in Cairo, killing hundreds of people.

Mr Morsi was ousted by the military last July following mass street protests against his government. He is facing four separate trials

There has since been a severe crackdown on his Muslim Brotherhood group, as well as on other activists seen as hostile to the military-backed interim government.

The Brotherhood has been declared a terrorist organisation and authorities have punished any public show of support for it.

A second group of 700 Morsi supporters is due to go on trial on Tuesday.

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