Egypt: Top Muslim Brotherhood leader and 682 others on trial

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Egypt: Top Muslim Brotherhood leader and 682 others on trial

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The leader of Egypt’s outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Badie, went on trial on Tuesday, along with 682 others, on charges including killing.

It comes a day after the same court sentenced 529 Brotherhood members to death.

Defence lawyers said they boycotted Tuesday’s session because they’d had no proper access to their clients the previous day and the court did not consider evidence given on their behalf.

Human rights groups said it was the biggest mass death sentence in Egypt’s modern history.

Hassan Eissa, a local man, asked, “So why hasn’t Mubarak been given the death sentence? Why hasn’t Habib al Adly been given the death penalty? Why haven’t any of the ministers in jail been given the death penalty so far? Is their lawyer very good and the lawyer for the 500 lousy? Or are the judges just different, each working according to different laws? This is a farce!”

“The mass imposition of the death penalty after a trial rife with procedural irregularities is in breach of international human rights law,” UN human rights spokesman Rupert Colville said.

“A mass trial of 529 people conducted over just two days cannot possibly have met even the most basic requirements for a fair trial,” he said at a news briefing in Geneva.

Some 398 of the defendants were tried in absentia, Colville said.