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Egypt court refers death verdicts against 12 members of Muslim Brotherhood to Grand Mufti

An Egyptian court has referred the cases of twelve members of the Muslim Brotherhood to the Grand Mufti, the country’s highest Islamic legal official, which is the first step towards imposing a death sentence.

The defendants are accused of storming the Matai police station and killing deputy chief Mustafa Al-Atar.

The Minya Criminal Court has also set August 7 as the date to sentence the other 391 defendants to retrial on charges of involvement in the incidents, while continuing their imprisonment.

On April 28, 2014, the Minya Criminal Court sentenced 37 defendants to death and 394 to life sentence and acquitted 17 others.

The Court of Cassation accepted the appeal against the verdict and to retry them before a new criminal court.

Egyptian and international human rights groups criticize the Egyptian authorities for the death sentences against political opponents which they say lack the minimum standards of integrity and transparency