Egypt Tries 682 More— Plus Brotherhood Leader

Lawyers boycott trial presided over by judge who ordered death of 529
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 25, 2014 8:48 AM CDT
Egypt Tries 682 More— Plus Brotherhood Leader
In this Jan. 16, 2010 file photo, the leader of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood Mohammed Badie stands in front of the group's logo during his first press conference in Cairo, Egypt.   (AP Photo/Amr Nabil, File)

A day after sentencing 529 people to death, Egypt launched another mass trial today, this time accusing 683 Muslim Brotherhood members—including the Brotherhood's top spiritual leader, Mohammed Badie—of crimes including murder and inciting violence in connection with a riot at a police station in Minya. Only 68 defendants were actually in court, the AP reports. Most of the rest are being tried in absentia, though some jailed Brotherhood honchos, including Badie, were kept out of court for security reasons.

Also absent: Many defense lawyers, who are boycotting the trial in protest of yesterday's sentencing; the judge who handed out those death sentences is presiding today. By law the lawyers' absence should have halted the trial, but the judge forged ahead. "This judge smashed the rock of justice with his own hands," one said. "He is inventing new law." The 683 are accused of killing two policemen, though according to the BBC no one was actually reported killed in the Minya attack—which followed police raids that killed almost 1,000 protesters in Cairo. (More Mohammed Badie stories.)

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