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10 Islamists sentenced in absentia to death in Egypt

CAIRO--An Egyptian court sentenced 10 supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood movement to death in absentia Saturday on charges of inciting violence and blocking a road last July.

Judge Hassan Fareed, presiding over a court in the Nile Delta town of Banha, referred the sentence to the Grand Mufti, the highest Islamic authority in Egypt, a legal requirement usually considered a formality.

The remaining 38 accused in the case will be sentenced at the next hearing on Jul. 5. Among them are Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie, former Brotherhood lawmaker Mohammed el-Beltagy, Salafi preacher Safwat Hegazy and Bassem Auda, the Supplies Minister under Morsi, who was overthrown by the military last July following massive protests against his yearlong rule.

The case is one of a series of ongoing mass trials of supporters of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, the largest of which saw 529 sentenced to death in one session in the southern Egyptian province of Minya. Under Egyptian law, those sentenced in absentia will have a new trial if they are arrested or surrender to authorities.

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