A view of the High Court of Justice in Cairo, Egypt (Reuters)
Two Egyptian courts on Tuesday sought the religious opinion of the country's Grand Mufti on preliminary death sentences handed down to 27 members of the terrorist-designated Muslim Brotherhood group terrorism-related charges.
The first case involves 16 defendants who are charged with murdering three policemen and wounding others.
The case dates back to 2015 when the defendants blew up a police vehicle carrying over 50 policemen who were en route to Rashid police station in Beheira governorate, west of the Nile Delta. Three policemen were killed, while 36 others were injured.
The prosecution accused all the defendants of joining a banned group established in violation of the law, and of knowingly joining a Brotherhood- affiliated armed group, with the first defendant separately accused of operating a banned group and its armed affiliates.
Five other defendants were charged with financing an extremist group and providing it with weapons and ammunition, while another nine were accused of participating with others in premeditatedly murdering three police personnel and injuring 36 others.
The prosecution also charged two of the defendants with incitement to commit attempted murder, sabotage and destruction acts, and use explosives, while accused 12 of possessing weapons and explosives, and five of possessing automatic rifles and ammunition.
The second case involves 11 defendants accused of shooting a 38-year-old police corporal to death while leaving his friend's house in a village in the northern Egyptian governorate of Beheira in 2014.
The religious opinion of the mufti is non-binding, but is a necessary procedure before issuing a death sentence in Egypt, according to the country’s code of criminal procedure.
Both courts have set 29 July for the final verdict against the defendants.