Cairo: An Egyptian court on Saturday sentenced to death 75 leading members and followers of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood for involvement in an armed sit-in about five years ago.
The verdicts issued by the Cairo Criminal Court, will now be sent to the country’s Grand Mufti for approval.
Sentencing for 666 co-defendants, including supreme guide of the Brotherhood Mohammad Badie, was set for September 8.
Those sentenced to death on Saturday included senior Brotherhood leaders Mohammad Al Beltagui, Essam Al Erian, Abdul Rahman Al Bar and Osama Yassin.
Thirty-one other convicts were tried in absentia. They included Assem Abdul Majed and Tareq Al Zumar believed to be staying in Turkey and Qatar, which are staunch backers of the Brotherhood. Chief judge of the court Hassan Farid said the final verdicts will be announced on September 8.
The case dates back to August 2013 when Egyptian security forces cleared a six-week sit-in held around the Rabaa Al Adawiya Mosque in a major square in eastern Cairo by loyalists of ousted president Mohammad Mursi, a senior Brotherhood official.
More than 600 people, including security personnel, were killed when the sit-in was violently dispersed.
The defendants, including Mursi’s son, Osama, were charged with several offences including holding an illegal gathering, committing murder, damaging public property and blocking roads in the area.
In July 2013, the army, then led by incumbent President Abdul Fattah Al Sissi, toppled Mursi following enormous street protests against his rule.
Thousands of Brotherhood members and followers have since been rounded up and jailed in different cases related to their involvement in violence.
In late 2013, Egypt designated the Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation after blaming it for a wave of deadly attacks in the country.