CAIRO: The defense team of 529 Muslim Brotherhood supporters will not attend their trial scheduled for Saturday, said Ashraf Omran, a lawyer of the defense team on Friday.
Omran told Youm7 that the defense team will not attend the trial as the jury members will deliver their final decision following the endorsement of the Mufti of Al Azhar.
The 529 defendants, 382 of whom were tried in absentia, were sentenced to death March 24 by the Minya Criminal Court (Upper Egypt) on charges of attacking a police station and killing its deputy head, and the verdict was referred to Grand Mufti Shawqi Alaam.
According to Egypt’s Criminal Code, death sentences must be referred to the grand mufti for his endorsement. However, the mufti’s judgment is consultative and the court has the freedom to neglect it. Moreover, when defendant is being tried in absentia, they generally recieve tougher sentences.
The defendants are charged with attacking the police station of Matai City in Minya governorate, killing the deputy head of the police station Colonel Mustafa Ragab, attempting to murder a second officer and policeman, and opening fire and stealing guns from the station on August 14, 2013.
The government designated the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group on December 25, 2013, a day after a bombing targeted the Dakahlia Security Directorate leaving 15 death and 134 injured.