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Brotherhood leader on trial in Egypt

The trial of Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie and 682 others began on Tuesday.

Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie. Picture: AFP.

CAIRO - The leader of Egypt's outlawed Muslim Brotherhood and 682 others went on trial on Tuesday on charges including murder, their lawyer said, in another blow to supporters of deposed President Mohamed Morsi.

The trial of Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie and the others came a day after the same court in Minya Province condemned 529 members of the Islamist group to death in what rights groups said was the biggest mass death sentence handed out in Egypt's modern history.

The Brotherhood has faced a severe crackdown since the army toppled the Brotherhood's Morsi - Egypt's first freely elected president - in July following mass protests against his rule.

In August, security forces killed hundreds of Brotherhood supporters who staged a long sit-in to demand Morsi's reinstatement. Thousands of others were arrested and top leaders, including Morsi, are also on trial.

Defence lawyers said they boycotted Tuesday's court session. The state news agency said defendants were also absent.

The Brotherhood, believed to number about one million in a population of 85 million, has won the vast majority of elections since a popular uprising toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

The government has declared the Brotherhood a "terrorist" group, but the organisation says it is committed to peaceful activism.

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