An Egyptian court has sentenced the Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie and two other members of the outlawed movement to life in prison over their alleged role in protests following the 2013 ouster of the country’s first democratically-elected president, Mohamed Morsi.
Judicial officials and and defense lawyer Abdel Moneim Abdel Maksoud said on Monday that the court condemned Badie to a life term along with Mahmoud Ghozlan, a Brotherhood spokesman, and Hossam Abubakr,a member of its guidance bureau.
They were given life sentences in retrial for “planning violent attacks” which followed the July 2013 military-led ouster of Morsi. They had been part of a group of people accused of conspiring to stir unrest during protests.
In April 2015, Badie, along with 13 other defendants, was sentenced to death while 37 others were sentenced to life in prison for setting up an “operation room” at a protest camp supporting Morsi in Cairo’s Rabaa Al-Adawiya area in the summer of 2013.
US-Egyptian citizen Mohamed Soltan, his father Salah Soltan and Ahmed Aref, another spokesman for the group, were among defendants on Monday sentenced to serve five years behind bars.
In May 2015, Egyptian authorities deported Mohamed Soltan to the US, while his father remains in custody.
The court also acquitted 21 others. The acquitted persons include Gehad Haddad, an international spokesman for the Brotherhood.
The retrial came after Egypt’s court of cassation scrapped the 2015 ruling.
Badie, who is being prosecuted in more than 35 trials, received three death sentences in other cases but those rulings have also been scrapped.
In recent months, the court of cassation has cancelled scores of death sentences against Morsi supporters including against the deposed president himself.
The Muslim Brotherhood has faced crackdown since Morsi was ousted in a coup led by the then military chief and current president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, in July 2013.
Since the ouster of Morsi, thousands of anti-government protesters, mostly Brotherhood supporters, have been sentenced to jail by civilian and military courts.
The Brotherhood was later blacklisted as a terrorist organization by officials in a bid to prevent its affiliates from running in elections.
International rights groups have repeatedly blasted the government of Sisi for launching a heavy-handed crackdown on anti-government protesters and stifling freedom of speech.
The clampdown has led to the deaths of more than 1,400 people and arrests of 22,000 others, while hundreds have been sentenced to death in mass trials, according to human rights bodies.
Egyptian forces kill eight Brotherhood members in shootout
The Egyptian Interior Ministry said in a statement on Monday that security forces has killed eight militants in a shootout in the North African country’s south.
it did not identify the exact location of the shootout but said police came under heavy gunfire while trying to approach the group and had to respond with force.
The Egyptian authorities identified the militants as members of the Brotherhood .
The statement noted those killed included Helmi Saad Masri, whom it described as a prominent Brotherhood leader.
The organization, which maintains that its activities are peaceful, has yet to comment on the deadly incident.
By Africafrique and agencies