Minya retrial of Brotherhood mass death sentences adjourned

El-Sayed Gamal El-Din, Monday 29 Sep 2014

The defendants - 150 supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi - will be detained as trial pushed back to January

This image made from video shows relatives reacting after an Egyptian court in March initially sentenced to death 529 supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in connection to an attack on a police station that killed a senior police officer in Minya, Egypt. (Photo: AP)

The retrial of 150 of Islamist defendants sentenced in April to death and life in jail in Upper Egypt's Minya has been adjourned to the last week of January.

During Monday's session, the first of the retrial, the court also ordered the defendants' to be detained, defence lawyer Khaled El-Koumy told Ahram Online.

The 150 defendants, who were sentenced in absentia, were initially released by the court pending the retrial after they turned themselves in.

Those facing retrial include 147 co-defendants who received life imprisonment sentences and three others sentenced to death.

The court in April affirmed death sentences against 37 members and supporters of the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood group. The rulings were part of a final judgment on 529 Brotherhood supporters condemned a month earlier.

Seventeen of the accused were acquitted while the rest of the defendants received commuted sentences of life in jail.

Charges against the accused include inciting murder, storming a police station and damaging public and private property. The accusations stem from clashes that erupted in Matay, in the southern governorate of Minya, after the forced dispersal of two pro-Brotherhood protest camps in Cairo on 14 August of last year.

In a separate case, an Egyptian court in June confirmed the death sentences for the Brotherhood's leader Mohamed Badie and 182 supporters on charges connected to the violence that erupted in Minya following the ouster of the Brotherhood's president Mohamed Morsi last summer, leaving one police officer dead.

The mass death sentences have sparked outrage and condemnation from local and international rights groups as well as western governments.

Since Morsi's overthrow in July 2013, hundreds of Islamist protesters have been killed and thousands jailed in a crackdown by security forces. Hundreds of army and police officers have also been killed in militant attacks amid a mounting Islamist insurgency. 

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