Egyptian court gives life sentence to Muslim Brotherhood leaders

A court in Egypt has sentenced to life in prison Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie, his deputy Khairat al-Shater, and four others over their alleged role in violence at the time of the ouster of the first democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

Judicial sources said the court issued the ruling on Wednesday as part of a retrial over violence between Brotherhood supporters and opponents near the Brotherhood headquarters in the capital Cairo back in 2013.

The rulings are the latest among several trials and retrials of Badie and other senior leaders of the Brotherhood that ruled the African country before the military, led by incumbent President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, ousted Morsi following mass protests in 2013.

The court on Wednesday sentenced Badie, Shater and four others to life in prison over violence between Brotherhood supporters and opponents near the headquarters, but acquitted former Parliament Speaker Saad al-Katatny along with a former minister, two prominent Brotherhood figures and two others.

All of the defendants have the right to appeal one final time before the Court of Cassation, Egypt’s highest civilian court.

The public prosecution may also appeal the acquittals or the life prison terms that two defendants got instead of death penalty.

The defendants faced charges of inciting violence against the protesters in front of the Brotherhood headquarters, aggravated battery and possession of firearms.

Authorities had referred 18 defendants, including five who remain at large, to trial in the case and a ruling was issued in 2015.

In January 2016, the Court of Cassation ordered the latest retrial after it accepted 13 defendants’ appeals. Mohamed Mahdi Akef, the former chairman of the Brotherhood, was among the defendants and died before receiving a sentence.

Also on Wednesday, two security sources and a judicial source said Egyptian authorities detained Ahmed Suleiman, a justice minister under Morsi, at his home in Minya governorate on Tuesday. Suleiman was later transferred to Cairo and is being investigated for belonging to a banned group, according to the security sources. The former minister had censured the arrest and trial of Brotherhood leaders after Morsi was overthrown.

Rights groups in Egypt and across the world have recorded cases of irregularities in the trials of political prisoners in the country. They say the army’s clampdown on the supporters of Morsi has led to the death of some 1,500 people and the arrest of 22,000 others, including 200 people who have been sentenced to death in mass trials.

The Sisi administration has outlawed the Brotherhood, which is Egypt’s oldest opposition movement. The group operated under strict measures during the rule of longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak, who was himself removed from power following an uprising in 2011.

Morsi had been sentenced to death on charges of corruption, escaping from prison and inciting violence before the Court of Cassation overturned that ruling in November last year and ordered a retrial.

Source: Press TV