Egypt puts top Brotherhood leader and 682 others on trial

Photo: Egypt puts top Brotherhood leader and 682 others on trial / Arab World

The leader of Egypt's outlawed Muslim Brotherhood and 682 others went on trial on Tuesday on charges including murder, their lawyer said, in another blow to supporters of deposed President Mohamed Mursi, Reuters reported.

The trial of Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie and the others came a day after the same court in Minya Province condemned 529 members of the Islamist group to death in what rights groups said was the biggest mass death sentence handed out in Egypt's modern history.

The Brotherhood has faced a severe crackdown since the army toppled the Brotherhood's Mursi - Egypt's first freely elected president - in July following mass protests against his rule.

In August, security forces killed hundreds of Brotherhood supporters who staged a long sit-in to demand Mursi's reinstatement. Thousands of others were arrested and top leaders, including Mursi, are also on trial.

Defense lawyers said they boycotted Tuesday's court session. The state news agency said defendants were also absent.

The Brotherhood, believed to number about one million in a population of 85 million, has won the vast majority of elections since a popular uprising toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

The government has declared the Brotherhood a "terrorist" group, but the organization says it is committed to peaceful activism.

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