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Defense boycotts new Egyptian mass trial, UN condemns series

Defense lawyers have boycotted a fresh mass trial in Minya, Egypt, while the United Nations says Monday’s mass death sentences of Muslim Brotherhood members violate international law.

In a fresh mass trial of Muslim Brotherhood chief Mohammed Badie and 682 further Muslim Brotherhood supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, a judge in Minya, Egypt, has announced that he will issue a verdict on April 28.

Although defense lawyers boycotted the start of the new trial on Tuesday, witnesses were being heard, and the judge, Said Youssef, decided to set the date for a verdict after just one session.

On Monday,

the same judge sentenced to death

529 alleged Morsi supporters after just two trial sessions. Many of the defendants were tried in absentia. The verdict sparked international condemnation.

Egypt is holding a series of trials as part of an ongoing crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood.

The United Nations' human rights office said on Tuesday that "the mass imposition of the death penalty after a trial rife with procedural irregularities is in breach of international human rights law." UN spokesman Rupert Colville also pointed out that "a mass trial of 529 people conducted over just two days cannot possibly have met even the most basic requirements for a fair trial."

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called on Egypt to annul the death sentences, saying that "the verdicts and the trials go against the international standards of the rule of law and human rights that Egypt, too, has signed up to," he said.

ng/hc (AP, dpa, AFP, Reuters)

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