Egyptian students who support the Muslim Brotherhood and ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi run from tear gas fired by riot police during clashes following a demonstration outside Cairo University on March 26, 2014
Egyptian students who support the Muslim Brotherhood and ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi run from tear gas fired by riot police during clashes following a demonstration outside Cairo University on March 26, 2014 © Khaled Desouki - AFP/File
Egyptian students who support the Muslim Brotherhood and ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi run from tear gas fired by riot police during clashes following a demonstration outside Cairo University on March 26, 2014
AFP
Last updated: March 29, 2014

Egypt sentences two Morsi supporters to death

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A court in Egypt on Saturday sentenced to death two supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi convicted of throwing youths off an apartment block roof, judicial sources said.

One of the young men thrown from the building in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria was killed.

The court submitted its verdict to the mufti, the government's official interpreter of Islamic law, for approval or rejection, the sources said.

The latest death sentences come despite international outcry at Egypt handing down the death penalty to 529 Islamists on Monday.

That verdict can be appealed, and the mufti has upheld death sentences in the past.

The men sentenced to death on Saturday were among 63 people on trial over deadly violence in Alexandria's Sidi Gaber neighbourhood on July 5 last year, two days after the amy overthrew Morsi.

Their trial was adjourned until May 19 when the verdicts for the other defendants are expected to be announced.

The violence in Alexandria broke out as supporters and opponents of Morsi took to the streets of Egypt's second city, with one group demanding his reinstatement and the other celebrating the end of his sole year in power.

Amateur video posted on social networks at the time showed men throwing two youths from the building.

It showed four young men cowering on the rooftop who are followed by several older men, one of them bearded and holding a jihadist flag.

The men are seen throwing stones at the youths and later one is thrown from the roof.

The video goes on to show club-wielding men beating the youth's body.

Another man is later thrown from the roof and survives but is injured.

- International outcry -

Egyptian authorities later said only one youth was killed in the attack and that one man had been arrested in connection with his death.

The latest verdict follows Monday's mass death sentences for more 529 pro-Morsi defendants, a ruling that triggered an international outcry.

Washington urged Egypt not to go ahead with the executions, with deputy US State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf calling the sentencing "shocking".

The verdict also drew fire from rights groups, the United Nations and the European Union, which questioned the fairness of proceedings against so many defendants lasting just two days.

Legal experts said the unprecedented sentences are likely to be overturned on appeal.

The military-installed regime has opened mass trials against more than 2,000 alleged Islamists since the army overthrew Morsi.

Two new mass trials of Islamists are being held in Minya province south of Cairo, where Monday's mass death sentences were pronounced.

The detained head of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Badie, is a defendant in both.

In the first, he stands accused with 714 others of murdering six people and the attempted murder of 51 others in the provincial town of Samalot, the official MENA news agency reported.

In the second trial, Badie is accused along with 203 others of assaulting policemen, disturbing public order, and damaging public and private property in another town in Minya province.

Only 160 of defendants in the first new trial are in custody, and in the second, just two of Badie's co-defendants are in detention.

In all, some 15,000 suspects have been detained since the security forces dispersed two Cairo protest camps set up by Morsi supporters last August 14, killing hundreds of people.

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