Apr 30, 8:03 AM EDT

An Egyptian court has sentenced Egyptian hard-line Muslim cleric Wagdi Ghoneim to death in absentia on accusations of establishing and running a group since 2003 until 2015 in violation of the law


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An Egyptian court has sentenced Egyptian hard-line Muslim cleric Wagdi Ghoneim to death in absentia on accusations of establishing and running a group since 2003 until 2015 in violation of the law

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CAIRO (AP) -- An Egyptian court has sentenced a hard-line cleric to death in absentia on charges of establishing a "terror group" after the 2013 overthrow of an elected Islamist president.

Wagdi Ghoneim, who currently lives in Turkey and is an outspoken supporter of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, dismissed Sunday's ruling, saying he had not been in Egypt since 2001.

Egypt has waged a sweeping crackdown against Morsi's now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group, jailing thousands and killing hundreds in street clashes in the months following his 2013 overthrow.

Ghoneim supports the Brotherhood, but espouses to hard-line views that are dismissed by more moderate members of the group, such as a prohibition on celebrating Christmas with Christians.

If he returns to Egypt, he would be retried on the same charges.

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