Egypt refers Islamist cleric to military trial

Egypt's prosecution referred at least 38 alleged Islamists, including an influential exiled cleric, to military trial Saturday, accusing them of setting up militant cells that killed a police officer.
The prosecution said 35 people have been arrested, and accused leaders of the ousted Muslim Brotherhood of inciting them to carry out violent attacks.
The statement said they include two detained Muslim Brotherhood figures.
Additionally, Youssef al-Qardawi, an influential Egyptian-born cleric who lives in Qatar and at least two other suspects who are abroad will be tried in absentia.
They are charged with ordering or carrying out several bombings in Cairo and involvement in the assassination of a police colonel in April.
Police have arrested thousands of Islamists since the military overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.
A crackdown on Morsi's followers has killed hundreds of protesters, while militant attacks have killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers, mainly in the Sinai Peninsula.
Courts, usually civilian ones, have sentenced hundreds of alleged Islamists to death, including Morsi himself.
Most have appealed and won retrials, while seven have been hanged, including six who had been sentenced to death by a military tribunal.
Rights campaigners say military trials deliver harsh verdicts with little due process for defendants.

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