Mohamed Badie
Mohamed Badie (R)

An Egyptian court has passed death sentences on 683 alleged Islamist defendants, including the Muslim Brotherhood supreme guide Mohamed Badie, for the killing of a policeman after the army overthrow of president Mohamed Morsi last year.

Judge Said Youssef also upheld 37 death sentences on Muslim Brotherhood supporters in a separate mass trial of 529 people accused of killing another policeman in the southern province of Minya. The remaining 492 defendants in that trial will spend 25 years in jail.

Ppreliminary death sentences were issued on 24 March and caused outrage among Western governments and human rights groups. The US and the EU said they were appalled by the ruling.

The Badie trial lasted just one hour. Defence lawyers were not permitted to present arguments against the chbarges.

Hundreds of Brotherhood supporters and members of the security forces have been killed in political violence and thousands of Islamists and some secular dissidents jailed by authorities since the army toppled Morsi.