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Egypt tries 683 alleged Morsi supporters

An Egyptian court began the trial of 683 alleged supporters of ousted Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi on capital charges on Tuesday in the southern city of Minya, media reported.

Security was strict and police sealed off streets, the independent newspaper al-Shorouk said.

Judge Saeed Youssef, who sentenced 529 people to death on Monday, was also in charge of the trial of the 683.

They are accused of storming a police station and killing officers in the town of Udwa last August.

The defendants at the second trial included the head of the banned Muslim Brotherhood, Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie.

Badie,  who is being held in Cairo’s Tora prison along with other Brotherhood leaders, was not brought to the hearing for security reasons, al-Shorouk reported.

Amnesty International described Monday’s death sentences as “a grotesque example of the shortcomings and the selective nature of Egypt’s justice system.’’

Youssef handed down the sentences which have been sent to Egypt’s chief Islamic legal authority for approval after giving the defence 48 hours to submit arguments in writing at Saturday’s procedural opening session.

Monday was only the second day of hearings.

Both cases relate to violence which broke out across Minya province, an Islamist stronghold, after police stormed two huge protest camps in the capital Cairo, killing hundreds of supporters of Morsi.

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