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Middle East

Egypt opens another mass trial of Islamists

People walk past a banner for Egypt's army chief, Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, in downtown Cairo, March 24, 2014. The banner reads, "Sovereign citizen. Sisi, son of Egypt. You are free. Son of freedom." REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh (EGYPT - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY CIVIL UNREST)

MINYA, Egypt: Egypt has opened another mass trial of Islamist suspects with 683 defendants facing charges of murder and sabotage, including the Muslim Brotherhood's top leader.

The charges stem from rioting last August, sparked when security forces stormed two Brotherhood sit-ins in Cairo, killing over 600 people.

Tuesday's proceedings are held in the southern city of Minya, where just the day before the same court handed down death sentences to nearly 530 supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi over a deadly attack on a police station.

That verdict followed a rushed, two-day trial that drew wide public and international criticism.

Only 60 of the 683 defendants were in the dock on Tuesday. The rest are being tried in absentia.

The Brotherhood's spiritual guide didn't appear in court, with authorities citing security reasons.

 

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