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Egypt

Steinmeier summons Egyptian ambassador after mass death sentence

Germany has summoned the Egyptian ambassador after a court sentenced hundreds to death this week. Amid protests on Monday, a judge in Minya condemned Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie and hundreds of others.

On Tuesday, Germany's foreign minister summoned Mohammed Higazy to protest 683 death sentences handed out following a mass trial for inciting violence during protests last summer, after July's military overthrow of elected President Mohammed Morsi.

In a statement following the sentencing on Monday, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called the mass condemnation "a mockery" of democratic principles.

"The Egyptian authorities are risking further destabilization of their country and a cementing of political and social divisions ahead of the presidential elections in May," Steinmeier said on Monday.

The Foreign Ministry has called for a repeal of the sentence and for the accused to receive new trials. In March, the same court sentenced another 529 people to death on similar charges.

Since ousting the Muslim Brotherhood's Morsi, Egypt's interim military-backed government has passed laws that appear aimed at suppressing dissent.

mkg/jr (Reuters, dpa)

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