Egypt court postpones verdict in trial of Muslim Brotherhood leader

Egyptian Brotherhood's supreme guide Mohamed Badie (C) stands in front of his judges during his trial in the capital Cairo on May 18, 2014. An Egyptian court on Saturday postponed to July 5, the verdict in the trial of Muslim Brotherhood leader
Egyptian Brotherhood's supreme guide Mohamed Badie (C) stands in front of his judges during his trial in the capital Cairo on May 18, 2014. An Egyptian court on Saturday postponed to July 5, the verdict in the trial of Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie and 47 others for inciting violence that killed two people last summer. -- PHOTO: AFP

CAIRO (AFP) - An Egyptian court on Saturday postponed to July 5 the verdict in the trial of Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie and 47 others for inciting violence that killed two people last summer.

However, it sentenced to death 10 defendants who are on the run, and a final ruling on their cases is expected July 5.

After the army ousted Islamist Mohamed Mursi last July, Badie was one of thousands of the deposed president's supporters arrested in a crackdown that also left more than 1,400 dead.

He is being tried in nearly 40 cases, all of which potentially carry the death penalty, and has already been sentenced to die in one case.

In April, a court in the city of Minya sentenced him and nearly 700 alleged Mursi supporters to hang over the murder and the attempted murder of policemen. A final ruling in those sentences is expected on June 21.

In Saturday's case, Badie is accused of inciting violence in which two people were killed in the Nile Delta city of Qaliub, only days after the military ousted Mursi on July 3.

He faces charges of inciting murder, inciting the spread of chaos, and inciting attacks on public and private properties, defence lawyer Mohamed Abou Leila told AFP.

Saturday's hearing was marred by chaos, as the 38 defendants in custody, including Badie, chanted anti-military slogans after entering the caged dock and were insulted by a witness, an AFP correspondent reported.

Other defendants in the Qaliub trial include senior Brotherhood official Mohamed al-Beltagui, well-known Islamist preacher Safwat Hegazy, two former Mursi cabinet ministers and two ex-MPs from the Brotherhood.

Along with Mursi, Badie, Beltagui and Hegazy are being tried on separate charges of mass prison breaks and attacks on police stations during the 2011 uprising that toppled strongman Hosni Mubarak.

Mursi is due in a separate court in that case on Saturday.

The deposed president also faces charges of espionage in collaboration with the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas.

He is on trial for inciting the killing of opposition protesters in December 2012 outside the presidential palace.

In March, the same court that sentenced Badie to die triggered an international outcry when it handed down the same sentence for 529 alleged Mursi supporters on similar charges. The judge subsequently upheld only 37 of those sentenced and commuted the rest to life in prison.

Death sentences in Egypt are referred to the country's top Islamic scholar for an advisory opinion before being ratified. A court may choose to commute the sentences, which can later be challenged at an appeals court.

Defendants tried in absentia also get an automatic retrial if they are ever arrested.

Ex-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who led Mursi's ouster, was elected president last week and is expected to be sworn-in Sunday.