An Egyptian court has sentenced 37 men to death and handed life terms to 492 others, claiming the accused were "demons" who followed Jewish scripture.

The court in the city of Minya defended the verdict on Sunday.

In a statement the court justified its decision saying: "The accused came out of the depths of hell... to plunder Egypt's wealth, tyrannize its people and they killed the deputy commissioner."

The statement continued describing the men as "enemies of the nation" who used mosques to promote teachings of "their holy book, the Talmud."

The Minya court previously triggered international outrage after sentencing hundreds to death for allegedly supporting ousted President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood.

In a trial in March the court sentenced 529 men to death for the killing of a police officer, but later upheld the ruling against 37 with the remaining jailed for life.

In April, the same court handed death penalties to 683 Muslim Brotherhood supporters including the group's supreme guide, Mohamed Badie, accusing them of murder and attempted murder of police officials.

The Egyptian military ousted former President Morsi in July last year following mass protests following his year in power.

Since military takeover security forces have launched a crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood supporters.

At least 1,400 people have been killed and thousands more have been arrested, according to Amnesty International.

Source: AFP