Egypt court sentences 188 to death for killing police

Cairo: An Egyptian court Tuesday sentenced 188 people to death over charges of murdering 11 police officers in 2013, media reported.

The ruling will be referred to the Grand Mufti, Egypt's highest Islamist legal official, for a legal opinion before carrying out the executions, Xinhua quoted state-run Ahram Arabic news website as saying.

The murder incident, referred to as "Kerdasa massacre", dates back to August 14, 2013 when dozens of supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi stormed the main police station in Kerdasa district of Giza governorate. Eleven policemen and two pedestrians were killed in the incident.

The assault took place shortly after police forces cracked down on two main sit-in camps of pro-Morsi protesters in Cairo and Giza governorates.

In September 2013, police forces attacked Kerdasa, a stronghold of Islamists, and arrested 188 people who faced accusations of murder, terrorism and damaging public property.

A number of the Muslim Brotherhood members, including high ranking officials, were sentenced to death. However, the sentences have not been carried out and can be appealed.

Morsi was removed by the military in July 2013 after mass protests against his one-year rule.

The Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi's power base, has been blacklisted by the Egyptian new leadership as "a terrorist group" and its members have been banned by court order from running in presidential and parliamentary elections.

Since Morsi's overthrow, hundreds of his supporters have been handed lengthy jail terms and death sentences after speedy trials. A massive security crackdown on his supporters has left about 1, 000 dead and thousands others arrested.

Morsi himself is currently in custody, and faces a number of charges such as 2011 jailbreak, espionage, ordering the killing of protesters, insulting the judiciary and leaking classified documents to Qatar.

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