Egypt sentences 683 to death in mass trial

Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and ousted President Mohamed Mursi, standing trial on charges of violence that broke out in Alexandria last year, react after two fellow supporters were sentenced to death, in a court in Alexandria in this March 29, file photo.
MINYA, Egypt (AP) — Defense lawyers say an Egyptian judge has sentenced to death more than 680 alleged supporters of the country's ousted Islamist president over acts of violence and the murder of policemen in the latest mass trial in Egypt that included the Muslim Brotherhood's spiritual leader.
Attorney Ahmed Hefni told reporters outside the court in the southern city of Minya on Monday that the death sentences first have to be approved by Egypt's mufti, the top Islamic official — a step that is usually considered a formality.
The case is linked to deadly riots that erupted in Minya and elsewhere in Egypt after security forces violently disbanded sit-ins held by Brotherhood supporters in Cairo last August.
Hundreds were killed as part of a sweeping campaign against ousted President Mohammed Morsi's supporters.