529 Morsi supporters sentenced to death in Egypt

BY Justin Scuiletti  March 24, 2014 at 3:24 PM EST

An Egyptian court sentenced 529 supporters of ousted president Mohammed Morsi to death Monday for murdering a police officer, among other charges, in relation to an attack on a police station in August 2013.

A total of 545 defendants were tried in the case, with only 147 reported to be in attendance, and the rest tried in absentia. In the end, 16 defendants were acquitted.

The mass trial, one of the largest in Egypt for decades, lasted two sessions before a decision was made. Defense lawyers for the hundreds of defendants say judges denied them extra time to review trial documents for their defense. One of the lawyers, Yasser Zidan, told The Associated Press that defense lawyers were prevented by security forces from attending the announcement of the verdicts.