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UN chief "alarmed" by mass Egyptian death sentences

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says he is "alarmed" by an Egyptian court's decision to sentence 682 alleged Islamists and Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie to death.

UNITED NATIONS: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is "alarmed" by an Egyptian court's decision Monday to sentence 682 alleged Islamists and Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie to death and fears it could impact the entire region, his spokesman said.

"Verdicts that clearly appear not to meet basic fair trial standards, particularly those which impose the death penalty, are likely to undermine prospects for long-term stability," Ban added, according to spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

Dujarric said the UN chief was "conscious of the regional and security implications of such sentences," adding that "stability in Egypt is essential for the overall stability of the entire North Africa and Middle East region."

The court in the southern province of Minya also reversed 492 of 529 death sentences it passed in March, commuting most of those to life in prison.

Ban meanwhile expressed concern about the banning by another Egyptian court of the April 6 youth movement that spearheaded the 2011 revolt that toppled strongman Hosni Mubarak.

Ban "was disappointed that the appeals court on 7 April upheld the jailing of three emblematic figures of the 2011 uprising, including two founders of the youth movement," Dujarric said.

Ban plans to discuss his concerns with Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy later this week, according to the spokesman.

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