In Egypt, it looks like they have opted to go BIG:

A judge in Egypt on Monday sentenced to death 683 alleged supporters of the country’s ousted Islamist president in the latest mass trial that included the Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual leader, defense lawyers said.

But in a surprise reversal, the same judge also reduced most of the death sentences handed to 529 defendants in a similar case in March, commuting the majority of them on Monday to life imprisonment.

The judge, Said Youssef, said he was referring his ruling on the 683 death sentences for violence and the killing of policemen to the Grand Mufti, the top Islamic official — a requirement under Egyptian law, but one that is considered a formality.

Both mass trials are linked to deadly riots that erupted in Minya and elsewhere in Egypt after security forces violently disbanded sit-ins held by Brotherhood supporters in Cairo last August.

General Sisi apparently has decided not to win the “hearts and minds” of the Muslim Brotherhood. However, he may be winning the support of his people, who have suffered with enormous civil unrest since “Arab Spring” sprung in 2011.

Sisi is the frontrunner in an election to be held at the end of May.

Former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is the frontrunner in the May 26-27 vote, riding a wave of popularity after deposing Mohamed Morsi, the country’s first elected and civilian president.

Sisi’s sole rival is Hamdeen Sabbahi, who came third in the 2012 election which Morsi won, and is seen by supporters as the only leader representing the aspirations of those who revolted against the dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

As Egypt now deems the Muslim Brotherhood a “terrorist organization”, it won’t be fielding any candidates.

It does not appear that the Obama Administration is particularly disturbed by these developments. The United States is set to deliver 10 Apache attack helicopters and relax a partial suspension of aid imposed after Egypt’s military ousted Morsi.

However, these are not the only interesting developments in Egypt this week. A Swiss archaeological mission found a cache of 60 royal mummies from the famous 18th dynasty, which looks to contain the remains of many princes and princesses that had been lost to history. Also, a team from the Polish Center of Archaeology conducting research on an ancient christian church uncovered a mausoleum made of marble and gold that may be the tomb of Alexander the Great.

(Featured image from AFP News Agency).