[JURIST] An Egyptian judge on Monday sentenced 683 alleged supporters of the banned Muslim Brotherhood [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] to death, including the group's supreme guide, Mohamed Badie [Washington Institute backgrounder]. The judge also confirmed [Al Jazeera report] the death sentence of 37 of 529 Muslim Brotherhood supporters sentenced to death in March [JURIST report]. The remaining defendants sentences were commuted to life prison. Under Egyptian law the death sentence recommendations in the case of Badie and the 682 other alleged supporters will be passed to the Grand Mufti of Al Azhar, the country's leading religious official, who will provide his non-binding opinion to the presiding judge. The defendants were all accused of taking part in violence in the southern governate of Minya on August 14. The guilty verdict and death sentences are still subject to appeal.
Supporters of ousted former president Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood have faced a strong government crackdown with approximately 15,000 individuals jailed since July. Egyptian courts over the weekend convicted [JURIST report] many Morsi supporters on charges including violence and rioting. Last week an Egyptian court on sentenced [JURIST report] 23 people, alleged to be members of the Muslim Brotherhood to three and a half years each in prison. Also in April Egypt's Primary Alexandria Court declared [JURIST report] the nation's Supreme Election Commission is forbidden from accepting a nomination from members of the Muslim Brotherhood in the upcoming presidential election scheduled for May 26-27 and the parliamentary elections to follow. The Muslim Brotherhood is facing pressure outside of Egypt as well; at the beginning of April the Brotherhood moved its headquarters [Daily Mail UK report] from London to Austria on the heels of a recently announced joint M15 and M16 inquiry into the group's activities initiated by UK Prime Minister David Cameron.