On Monday, a judge presiding over a mass trial in Minya recommended the death penalty for 683 people Monday, including a Muslim Brotherhood leader.
State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki called the death sentences "unconscionable."
Echoing Secretary of State John Kerry's remarks regarding such mass trials and sentencing, Psaki said "it is impossible to believe that such proceedings could satisfy even the most basic standards of justice, let alone meet Egypt’s obligations under international human rights law."
The U.S., she said, urges "Egyptian authorities to remedy the situation and reverse these court rulings and ensure due process for the accused on the merits of individual cases" and called "the Egyptian government to demonstrate -- through actions rather than words -- its support for the universal human rights and freedoms and democratic, accountable governance that the Egyptian people continue to demand."
The death sentences handed down Monday are considered preliminary. Egypt’s top Islamic authority, the Grand Mufti, will make a final decision of approval or rejection, a step typically a formality.