Egypt is to hold two new mass trials of Islamists just days after a judge sparked an international outcry by handing down 529 death sentences.
Both trials are to be held in Minya province, south of Cairo, the same province where the judge handed down the death sentences against supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi on Monday after a mass trial lasting just two days.
The detained head of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Badie, is a defendant in both new trials.
In the first, he stands accused with 714 others of murdering six people and attempted murder of 51 others in the Minya province town of Samalot, the official MENA news agency reported on Wednesday.
The defendants, only 160 of whom are in custody, are also accused of storming a police station, a court and the city council building.
In the second trial, Badie is accused along with 203 others of assaulting policemen, disturbing public order, and damaging public and private property in another Minya province town.
Just two of Badie’s co-defendants in that case are in custody, MENA said.
The violence which the defendants are accused of participating in erupted after the security forces dispersed two Cairo protest camps set up by Morsi supporters on August 14, killing hundreds.
The mass trials are part of a crackdown by the military-installed authorities targeting Morsi’s supporters, in which some 15,000 suspects have been detained.
Monday’s mass death sentences drew fire from human rights groups, the United Nations, the United States and the European Union, which questioned the fairness of proceedings against so many defendants lasting just two days.