May 22, 2015 / 5:34 PM / 3 years ago

Hundreds march in Sudan against Mursi death sentence

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Around 800 protesters marched through Sudan’s capital on Friday against a court’s decision this week to seek the death penalty for Egypt’s ousted Islamist president Mohamed Mursi.

A man holds a poster and a sign that shows the Rabaa hand gesture, which symbolizes support for the Muslim Brotherhood, during a march with protesters from Islamic Movement, a faction of Sudan's ruling National Congress Party, and Egyptians against an Egyptian court's decision this week to seek the death penalty for Egypt's ousted Islamist president Mohamed Mursi, after Friday prayers in Khartoum, Sudan May 22, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer

Sudan’s government has up to now declined to comment on the sentence in neighboring Egypt, describing it as an internal matter.

But the march organized by the Islamic Movement, a faction of Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party, suggested some in the ruling elite wanted to send a stronger signal against Egypt’s crackdown on Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood.

Hundreds of Sudanese, joined by dozens of Egyptians, marched from the Grand Mosque following Friday prayers, as police watched on, a Reuters witness said.

Crowds held up pictures of Mursi and other Brotherhood figures, as well as Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.

They also chanted slogans against Egypt’s current President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who as army chief orchestrated Mursi’s ouster following mass protests against his rule.

Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir came to power in a bloodless coup in 1989, backed by the army and Islamists.

But analysts say the government, facing international sanctions over its human rights record, has more recently sought to broaden its support across the Middle East by publicly distancing itself from the Brotherhood, which is seen as a security threat in Egypt and other Arab states.

The Egyptian court’s decision has drawn widespread international criticism, with Turkey warning of regional turmoil if Mursi is executed.

The ruling against Mursi is not final until June 2. All capital sentences are referred to Egypt’s top religious authority, the Grand Mufti, for a non-binding opinion, and are also subject to legal appeal.

Reporting By Khalid Abdelaziz; Writing By Shadi Bushra

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