Mass death sentences are usually associated with regimes like those of Adolf Hitler's Nazis or Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge. But Egypt's military rulers have now joined the ranks of such regimes, staging circus-like trials in which the outcome is foreordained. One such trial, in March 2014, produced 529 death sentences; another, in April, yielded 683 death sentences. And the trend shows no signs of slowing.

Last month, 107 people — including Mohammed Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected president — were handed death sentences for their alleged role in a mass "prison break" during the January 2011 uprising against former President Hosni Mubarak.

Morsi was also accused of "colluding with foreign militants" — that is, Hezbollah and Hamas — in order to free political prisoners in Egypt.