An Egyptian court on Monday recommended the death sentence for 683 alleged Islamists including Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie, and handed down a final capital punishment ruling for 37 others, a lawyer and prosecutor said.
Seeking the death penalty for Mohamed Badie, the Brotherhood’s general guide, is certain to raise tension in Egypt, which has been gripped by turmoil since the army removed the Brotherhood from power last year.
Death sentence recommendations in the case involving Badie will be passed on to Egypt’s Mufti, the highest religious authority. His opinion is not legally binding and can be ignored by the court.
The biggest trials in Egypt’s modern history have reinforced fears among human rights groups that the military-backed government and anti-Islamist judges are bent on crushing dissent.
The same court also reversed 492 death sentences out of 529 it passed in March, commuting most of the death sentences to life in prison, meanwhile the death sentence of the remaining 37 others were finalised.
Egyptian authorities had arrested the supreme guide of the Muslim Brotherhood earlier in August last year.
The arrest stoked fears of an escalation in the already tense situation in Egypt, where nearly 900 people had died in days of clashes nationwide between security forces and Islamist supporters of Morsi.
Later in December the same year the military-installed government declared the Muslim Brotherhood of ousted president Mohamed Morsi a “terrorist” group.