NEW YORK - The United States is ‘deeply concerned’ about an Egyptian court decision to seek the death penalty for the former president Mohamed Morsi, and over 100 others for their role in a mass prison break during the 2011 revolution, a State Department official said on Sunday.

‘We are deeply concerned by yet another mass death sentence handed down by an Egyptian court to more than 100 defendants, including former President Morsi,’ said a State Department official on Sunday. The US criticism follows condemnation from Amnesty International and Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, after the court ruling on Saturday against the deposed leader and 106 supporters of his Muslim Brotherhood in connection with the jail break.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity. noted that the US has ‘consistently spoken out against the practice of mass trials and sentences’ in Egypt, which are not consistent with the country’s ‘international obligations and the rule of law.’ The death sentences are to be referred to the Grand Mufti, Egypt’s highest religious authority, for consultative review and the final decision will be pronounced on June 2. The Grand Mufti’s verdict is non-binding.

The US official said that the sentences were preliminary and that Washington would continue efforts to insure justice and due process are observed in the country. ‘We continue to stress the need for due process and individualized judicial processes for all Egyptians in the interests of justice,’ he stated. Amnesty International called Egyptian court’s ruling on Saturday  ‘a charade based on null and void procedures.’

‘The fact that he (Morsi) was held for months incommunicado without judicial oversight and that he didn’t have a lawyer to represent him during the investigations makes these trials nothing but a charade based on null and void procedures,’ said Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program Said Boumedouha. Back in April, Morsi was given a 20-year prison term in a separate trial on charges of protester deaths in 2012. The case stemmed from the deaths and torture of demonstrators outside Morsi’s presidential palace in December 2012.

In July 2013, Morsi, the country’s first democratically-elected president, was ousted in a military coup led by the former head of the armed forces and the current president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Despite US lawmakers’ concerns that Egypt is lagging on democratic reforms, Egypt remains one of Washington’s closest security allies in the region. Relations cooled after Morsi was overthrown by the military nearly two years ago, but ties with Sisi, his successor, have steadily improved. In late March, Barack Obama lifted a hold on a supply of arms to Cairo, authorising deliveries of US weapons valued at more than $1.3bn. The United States expressed alarm Sunday at death sentences for Egypt’s ousted president Mohamed Morsi and dozens of others, a verdict experts called a declaration of “total war” on his Muslim Brotherhood.

Morsi was among more than 100 defendants ordered by a court on Saturday to face the death penalty for their role in a mass jailbreak during the 2011 uprising. Washington expressed concern over Saturday’s verdict, saying it has “consistently spoken out against the practice of mass trials and sentences”. “We continue to stress the need for due process and individualised judicial processes for all Egyptians in the interests of justice,” a State Department official said.

A govt crackdown under Sisi has seen hundreds of Morsi’s Islamist supporters killed, thousands jailed and dozens sentenced to death after mass trials which the United Nations has described as “unprecedented in recent history”.

Ties between Washington and Cairo plummeted after Morsi’s ouster, with President Barack Obama’s adminstration freezing annual military aid of $1.3 billion to Cairo.

Most of the aid was unblocked in late 2014. The foreign ministry denounced global condemnation of the verdict, saying “such comments constitute unacceptable interference in the internal affairs of the country”.

Judge Shabaan El-Shamy convicted Morsi, already sentenced to 20 years in jail in another trial, and dozens of other co-defendants including prominent Qatar-based cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi, of plotting jailbreaks and attacks on police during the 2011 revolt. Many of the defendants were Palestinians alleged to have worked with Hamas in neighbouring Gaza, and were tried in absentia.

The death sentences “have no value and cannot be implemented because they are against the rule of God and people’s laws and customs”, Qaradawi told the Doha-based Al-Jazeera news channel.