An Egyptian court confirmed death sentences for 183 Muslim Brotherhood members accused of a deadly attack on a police station in Minya on August 14, 2013. The sentence included the group’s leader, Mohammad Badie.
The court's action is part of an ongoing mass trial of Muslim Brotherhood members following the group’s ouster under former president Mohamed Morsi. The criminal court in Minya also commuted or acquitted sentences for 500 of the 683 total sentenced to death in April.
Defense lawyers have repeatedly called the mass trial “farcical” and other critics say it was a politically motivated move to discredit and destroy the Muslim Brotherhood. Nearly 600 of the defendants were tried in absentia.
The police station attack happened in the wake of President Morsi’s ousting on the same day that 600 Morsi supporters were killed when security forces broke up two pro-Morsi sit-ins in Cairo. According to Associated Press, around 16,000 Egyptians have been arrested since the military took power, including much of the Muslim Brotherhood’s leadership.
After the rulings were handed down, families of those acquitted clapped and chanted the pro-military slogan “the Army and the People are one hand!” Families of those whose sentences were confirmed wept and screamed in the streets. Defense lawyers of many say that the defendants weren’t even present at the Minya police building attack.
The Muslim Brotherhood said in a statement on Friday that the verdict was “shocking yet unsurprising,” and said the trial was “an unscheduled and incomplete trial which lacked even the basic semblance of due process.”
The presiding judge earned the nickname “the Butcher” because of his harsh and violent sentences.
Defense lawyers said they would appeal the death sentences.