World Bulletin / News Desk
An Egyptian court has adjourned to May 12 a hearing into a challenge filed by defense lawyers calling for the recusal of judges who sentenced 528 supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi to death last month, judicial sources said.
Defense lawyers filed a challenge against the judge who issued the controversial decision, citing procedural flaws that they say impaired the trial's integrity.
The court decided to postpone the hearing to correct the name of the judge in the case documentation from Said Khamis Mohamed to Said Youssef Mohamed.
In March, the judge condemned 528 Morsi supporters – including 397 tried in absentia – to death for committing acts of violence in Minya last August after security forces in Cairo and Giza violently dispersed two pro-Morsi sit-ins, killing hundreds of protesters in the process.
The court has since referred the sentences to the grand mufti, Egypt's top religious official, for a non-binding procedural review.
Defense Lawyer Khaled al-Koumi told Anadolu Agency that presiding judges had committed procedural errors, meaning defendants had the right to a retrial.
According to the attorney, procedural flaws included the fact that judges had turned down a recusal request by some defendants, failed to review all the evidence in the case, and didn't register the presence of certain defendants in the courtroom.
The tranche of death sentences – the largest in Egypt's modern history – have sparked outrage among international rights organizations and drawn condemnation from the West.
Egypt's army-backed authorities have launched a massive crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, the group that propelled Morsi to power in 2012 polls, since the latter's ouster by the army last July.
In the eight months since, thousands of the groups' members and sympathizers have been arrested.Last Mod: 14 Nisan 2014, 14:54