Cairo: An Egyptian court on Monday condemned to death Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie and 13 other senior members of the banned movement, state media and lawyers said.
The 14 members of the Brotherhood, which was declared a "terrorist organisation" in 2013, were found guilty of "plotting attacks aimed at sowing chaos" across the country, state news agency MENA reported.
The court found Badie and his co-defendants, who include the Brotherhood`s former spokesman Mahmud Ghazlan, had set up an "operations room" to prepare attacks against the state in the weeks after the army ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.
But lawyer Ahmad Helmi branded the verdicts as "farcical", in a telephone interview with AFP.
MENA said that the court had referred its verdict to Al-Azhar, the country`s top Sunni Muslim authority, for an advisory opinion in accordance with Egyptian law before ratifying the death sentences.
Al-Azhar`s opinion is not binding with the court having the final say in the case, and could choose to commute the sentence which can later be challenged in an appeals court.
A total of 51 suspects, including the 14 sentenced to death Monday, are being tried in the case, 31 of whom are behind bars.
The court said it will announce the verdicts against the other defendants on April 11.
Badie has already been sentenced to four life terms in separate trials and was condemned to death for incitement to violence but that sentence was overturned and he is now facing a retrial.
Since the overthrow of Morsi the authorities have launched a brutal crackdown against his supporters, including leaders from his Muslim Brotherhood, leaving hundreds dead and thousands jailed after often speedy mass trials.
Morsi himself is facing several trials on charges that are punishable by death.
On March 7, Egypt carried out the first execution to a man involved in violent clashes two days after Morsi`s ouster.
The interior ministry said Mahmud Ramadan had thrown children from the roof of a building in the port city of Alexandria during violent clashes organised by the Brotherhood.