Egyptian military court refers 8 to Grand Mufti

Sunday 07-02-2016 06:32 PM

CAIRO, Feb 7 (Aswat Masriya) - An Egyptian military court referred eight defendants to the Grand Mufti to give an opinion on death sentences handed to them on militancy charges.

Out of the eight defendants, two are still at large and were sentenced in absentia.

The court set a hearing on Mar. 13 to issue the final ruling on the case, after the Grand Mufti issues his opinion. According to the military judiciary code, the verdict can be challenged before the military appeals court.

Consulting Egypt's Grand Mufti is a procedural step adopted in all cases which involve death sentences. The Mufti's rulings are not binding, yet it is customary for the court to adopt them.

The defendants were arrested during the events following the dispersals of encampments set up in the Rabaa al-Adaweya and Nahda squares in August 2013. The two encampments were held in support of former president Mohamed Mursi who was militarily ousted in July 2013, following mass protests against his rule.

The defendants faced accusations of targeting state officials, military personnel and carrying out operations targeting electricity and communication pylons.

Authorities have led a crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood members and supporters since Mursi's ouster. Mursi himself is in jail, facing a string of charges in more than one court case.

Egypt listed the Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation in December 2013 and insists it is behind the wave of militancy which has targeted security personnel since July 2013. 

The Brotherhood continuously denies the accusations. 

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