Egypt opens another mass trial of Islamists

An Egyptian court on Tuesday opened another mass trial of Islamist suspects, with 683 defendants - including the Muslim Brotherhood's top leader - facing an array of charges, from murder and inciting violence to sabotage.


The proceedings in Minya, south of Cairo, came a day after the same court handed down death sentences to nearly 530 suspected backers of ousted president Mohamed Morsi over a deadly attack on a police station.


That verdict, which capped a swift, two-day mass trial in which defense attorneys were not allowed to present their case, drew wide public and international criticism.


The charges in Tuesday's proceedings also stemmed from rioting last August sparked by the security forces' storming of two Brotherhood

sit-ins in Cairo that killed over 600 people.


Only 68 of the 683 defendants were in the dock Tuesday. The rest are being tried in absentia. A handful of other defendants held in the case, including the Brotherhood's spiritual leader Mohammed Badei and other senior figures who are jailed in Cairo, were not present at the trial in Minya. Authorities cited security reasons for not bringing them to the hearings. (AP)