Islamists get Egypt death sentence over police killings

CAIRO (AFP) - An Egyptian court sentenced seven Islamists to death Tuesday over the killing of 25 policemen in the Sinai Peninsula last year and for collaborating with Al-Qaeda in Iraq, state news agency MENA said.

Five of the defendants in the case, details of which were not given, are in custody. Another two were tried in absentia.

As is required under Egyptian law, the sentences were referred to the country's mufti, or top Muslim cleric, for review. December 6 was fixed as the date for the final verdict to be announced.

The authorities have cracked down hard on supporters of former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood movement since the army deposed him last year.

The campaign has left at last 1,400 people dead, and seen more than 15,000 jailed. Hundreds have also been sentenced to death after often speedy trials.