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CAIRO (AP) - An Egyptian court sentenced 10 supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood movement to death in absentia Saturday on charges of inciting violence and blocking a road last July.

Judge Hassan Fareed, presiding over a court in the Nile Delta town of Banha, referred the sentence to the Grand Mufti, the highest Islamic authority in Egypt, a legal requirement usually considered a formality.

The remaining 38 accused in the case will be sentenced at the next hearing on Jul. 5. Among them are Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie, former Brotherhood lawmaker Mohammed el-Beltagy, Salafi preacher Safwat Hegazy and Bassem Auda, the Supplies Minister under Morsi, who was overthrown by the military last July following massive protests against his yearlong rule.

The case is one of a series of ongoing mass trials of supporters of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, the largest of which saw 529 sentenced to death in one session in the southern Egyptian province of Minya. Under Egyptian law, those sentenced in absentia will have a new trial if they are arrested or surrender to authorities.

The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's most well-organized opposition movement during decades of autocratic rule, was propelled to power by the 2011 uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak.

The trials are part of a fierce government crackdown in the months following Morsi's overthrow, during which the group was outlawed and then declared a terrorist movement. Hundreds of Morsi supporters have been killed in clashes with police, at least 16,000 have been detained by the military-backed government and hundreds referred to trial.



Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Read the original story: 10 Islamists sentenced to death in Egypt

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