[JURIST] Judge Said Youssef of the Minya Criminal Court of Egypt on Friday confirmed the death sentence of 183 Muslim Brotherhood [party website] members while simultaneously acquitting over 400 in the death of police officers over a year ago. Only 110 of the accused were present in a holding area outside of the court during the determination, while the remainder were tried in absentia. According to Egyptian law, the sentence of each absentee will be retried upon apprehension of each convict. This sparks a slight reversal of the initial mass death sentence [JURIST report] of 683 members of the Brotherhood [AP backgrounder] after a review of the mass trial by the Grand Mufti, the spiritual leader of Egypt. Multiple human rights organizations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch [advocacy reports] have critiqued the mass trial for lack of due process, as neither the defendants nor their attorneys were permitted to appear before the court. This is the second death sentence [Muslim Brotherhood statement] against former leaders in two days.
Egypt's military deposed then-president Morsi last July, and throughout the past year the military-backed government and court system has organized a massive political crackdown against Morsi supporters and members of the Muslim Brotherhood, having jailed approximately 15,000 individuals since Morsi was removed from power. Earlier this week an Egyptian court sentenced [JURIST report] 12 Muslim Brotherhood supporters to death for the murder of former Deputy Director of Giza Security Nabil Farrag. UN human rights officials argued earlier this year that the mass trials in Egypt violate international law [JURIST report]. In May an Egyptian court broke the pattern of mass trials resulting in the death penalty, as the court acquitted 169 Brotherhood supporters [JURIST report] on charges of illegal gathering.