Muslim Brotherhood's senior member Mohamed El-Beltagy and Islamist cleric Safwat Hegazis (R) gestures the four-fingered "Rabaa" hand symbol behind bars and glass panels from the defendant's cage at a courtroom in Cairo August 7, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)
The Muslim Brotherhood's Supreme Guide, Mohamed Badie, and 14 other leading members of the group may not be sentenced to death on charges of inciting murder and violence in the Istaqama Mosque clashes trial.
Egypt's Grand Mufti Shawki Allam reported on Thursday to the court that the case lacks the evidence necessary to incriminate the defendants. As a result, the criminal court has adjourned the case to 30 August.
The death sentences were initially issued in June but the case was adjourned pending the mufti's review.
Despite the Grand Mufti's opinion on Thursday that there is insufficient evidence to convict the defendants, the case's most recent adjournment requires him to review the case once more.
The mufti added in his report to the court that the only evidence used in the case against the defendants were the statements of a national security officer which were not backed up by any other sources. The officer's statements assert that those who opened fire during the Istaqama clashes were Brotherhood supporters.
The referral of the sentences to the mufti is the first step in the legal process required to perform a death sentence. Although the mufti's decision is nonbinding, the court will issue a final verdict following his report. Once a final verdict is issued, the defendants may appeal.
The prosecution accused the defendants of inciting murder upon ten people and injuring 20 others in the clashes that erupted at the Istaqama Mosque in Giza following the dispersal of Pro-Morsi sit-ins at Rabaa Al-Adawiya and Al-Nahda last August. In addition to Supreme Guide, other Brotherhood leadership among the accused include former supply minister Bassem Ouda, well-known MB leading member Mohamed El-Beltagy and high-profile Brotherhood preacher Safwat Hegazy.
Mohamed Badie was already sentenced to death in Minya in April. He has also been sentenced to life in prison in another case in Qalubiya. Both cases are also related to murder and violence incitement following the dispersal of Rabaa.