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U.S., EU Slam Morsi Death Sentence

Ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has been sentenced to death.

Ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has been sentenced to death.

The United States has expressed "deep concern" about a death sentence issued by an Egyptian court against deposed Islamist president Muhammad Morsi and more than 100 others for their role in a mass jailbreak during the 2011 uprising.

A U.S. State Department official said on May 17 that Washington has "consistently spoken out against the practice of mass trials and sentences, which are conducted in a manner that is inconsistent with Egypt's international obligations and the rule of law."

The European Union on May 17 also denounced the death sentence.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement that, "the court decision to seek the death penalty... was taken at the end of a mass trial that was not in line with Egypt's obligations under international law."

Her statement said the EU believes the sentence will be revised upon appeal.

"The EU opposes capital punishment under all circumstances," Mogherini said. "The death penalty is cruel and inhumane."

The May 16 death sentence rulings are to be referred to Egypt's top religious authority, the Grand Mufti, for an opinion before any executions can take place.

That opinion is non-binding, and the judge will issue a final decision on June 2.

Human rights groups have accused Egyptian authorities of widespread abuses in a crackdown against Muslim Brotherhood supporters as well as secular activists, allegations they deny.

Morsi was Egypt's first freely elected president. He was ousted by the military in July 2013 after days of mass protests sparked by his divisive policies.

Militants Executed

Meanwhile, Egypt says it has executed six members of a Sinai-based militant group with links to the Islamic State militants group for carrying out an attack on soldiers near Cairo in 2014.

The state news agency reported on May 17 that the group, Sinai Province, has killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers since the army toppled Islamist President Muhammad Morsi in 2013.

The case marked the first trial of members of Sinai Province, which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State militant group that has seized large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria.

It was formerly known as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis.

Human rights groups had appealed for a stay of execution, saying two of the defendants had been in custody at the time of the attack in March 2014.

Amnesty International said the men underwent a "grossly unfair" trial and that the only witnessin the proceedings was a secret police officer.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP