An Egyptian court on Monday referred 10 defendants, who are reportedly part of an al-Qaeda-linked cell, to the grand mufti, Egypt’s top religious authority, to consider possible death sentences against them.
A judicial source said the defendants are among a group of 68 being tried on charges of forming an al-Qaeda-linked cell, including the brother of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.
Al-Zawahiri, however, was not among the 10 referred to the mufti on Monday. The court will deliver its final verdict in the case on September 27.
The opinion of the mufti is not binding to the court, but Egyptian law makes it necessary for judges to seek a religious point of view on any death sentence.
Egypt has been roiled by violence and unrest since the military overthrew democratically-elected President Mohamed Morsi in a military coup two years ago.