U.N. chief tells Egypt he is concerned by mass death penalties

UNITED NATIONS Wed Apr 2, 2014 4:25pm EDT

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed his strong concerns to Egypt on Wednesday over a court's sentencing of more than 500 people and the detention of journalists.

Ban met with Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy in Brussels on the sidelines of a European Union-African summit.

"The Secretary-General conveyed to the Minister his strong concerns regarding the mass death penalty sentences announced recently, as well as the detention of journalists," Ban's press office said in a statement.

Last month an Egyptian court in the southern province of Minya sentenced 529 supporters of former President Mohamed Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood to death, drawing strong criticism from Western governments and human rights groups.

Egypt put three journalists of the Qatar-based television network Al Jazeera - an Australian, a Canadian-Egyptian and an Egyptian - on trial in February on charges of aiding members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Rights groups have criticized the case as a violation of freedom of expression.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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