Family members stood outside an Egyptian courthouse screaming on Monday, after a verdict sentencing 529 accused to death had been passed. This court action signified the Egyptian government’s increased intensity in the crackdown on the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood’s activities. This verdict is seen as likely to fuel instability in the country.

Pandemonium has intensified since the military overthrew Mohamed Morsi, the country’s first democratically elected president and leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood, in July last year. State security forces have killed hundreds of Brotherhood members and arrested thousands.

The majority of the defendants in the two-day trial were accused of carrying out attacks during clashes which erupted in the southern province of Minya after the forced disbanding of two Brotherhood protest camps in Cairo in August.

The underground Muslim Brotherhood responded with a call on its website (Arabic) for the “downfall of military rule”.

State television reported the judgement without comment. A government spokesperson did not immediately respond to calls and several government officials declined to comment on “judicial matters”.

Of the 529 defendants, 123 were in court. The remainder were either out on bail or on the run.

The condemned men can still appeal against the ruling.

Source: Reuters