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Egypt Sentences 183 Brotherhood Members to Death


FILE - Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi hold a copy of the Koran and Morsi's picture at Talaat Harb Square, in Cairo, Jan. 25, 2015.

An Egyptian court sentenced to death 183 members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood Monday on charges of killing at least 15 police officers in at attack after the 2013 ouster of former President Mohammed Morsi.

Thirty-four Brotherhood members were also sentenced in absentia in the attack.

The assault on the police station in the village of Kerdasa, near Cairo, in August 2013, took place on the same day security forces killed hundreds of demonstrators in Cairo during clashes at two large protest camps supporting Morsi.

The verdict was the latest in a string of mass death sentences that have sparked local and international condemnation.

Monday's verdict was issued by Judge Mohammed Nagi Shehata, who has developed a reputation for harsh sentences against perceived government critics.

Shehata sentenced a trio of prominent revolutionary activists to prison for violating a new law against unauthorized demonstrations. He also sentenced three journalists from Al Jazeera English to jail terms ranging from seven to 10 years.

One of those journalists, Australian Peter Greste, was released and deported Sunday, while the other two remain in prison.

Crackdown on Brotherhood

Egypt has mounted one of the biggest crackdowns in its modern history on the Brotherhood, with thousands of the group’s supporters being arrested and tried en masse in a campaign human rights groups say shows the government is systematically repressing opponents.

Since Morsi's overthrow, the government has jailed tens of thousands of Muslim Brotherhood members and supporters. Hundreds have also been killed in violence that often breaks out during protests.

Morsi, was the country's first democratically elected president, was toppled by then-army chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.

Sissi, who was elected president last year, said the Brotherhood is a security threat. Movement leaders said they are committed to peaceful activism.

The death sentences followed one of the bloodiest attacks on Egyptian security forces in years. The Islamic State group's Egypt wing claimed responsibility for a series of coordinated operations that killed at least 27 people in Egypt last week.

Egyptian authorities make no distinction between the Brotherhood, the Islamic State group and al-Qaida, arguing that they have a shared ideology and are equally dangerous.

Material for this report came from Reuters and AP.

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