Middle East

Egypt sentences 188 Muslim Brotherhood supporters to death

Police officers outside damaged Kerdasa station Image copyright Reuters
Image caption At least 11 police officers were killed in the attack on Kerdasa station

More than 180 supporters of the banned Muslim Brotherhood have been sentenced to death in Egypt over a 2013 attack on a police station near Cairo.

The attack took place on the same day as Egyptian security forces broke up protest camps set up by Brotherhood supporters, leaving hundreds dead.

Egypt has been fiercely criticised for its crackdown on Islamist supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi.

Hundreds of death sentences have been passed but none have been carried out.

The latest sentences are subject to the opinion of Egypt's top religious authority, the Grand Mufti.

A final verdict is due on 24 January, after which defendants may appeal.

More than 140 of the 188 defendants are already in custody, while the rest have been sentenced in absentia.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie is facing execution after two separate trials

The sentences were passed for an attack on a police station in the village of Kerdasa on 14 August 2013, in which at least 11 officers were killed.

More than 500 people have been sentenced to death for a separate attack on a police station in Minya on the same day.

Mr Morsi, a senior figure of the Brotherhood, had been forced from office by the military in the previous month, following mass protests against him.

He was succeeded by President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, a former military chief who has been heavily criticised for his crackdown on the Islamists.

On Saturday, another court dropped all charges against former President Hosni Mubarak, who has been in custody since being overthrown in the so-called Arab Spring uprising of 2011.

Critics of the current government accuse it of restoring Mr Mubarak's authoritarian practices.