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Military court sentences over four hundred Brotherhood supporters to prison on violence charges

Mostafa Ali , Thursday 18 Aug 2016
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An Egyptian military court sentenced on Thursday more than four hundred supporters of the banned Muslim Brotherhood group to jail terms of up to 25 years.

Some 418 people were sentenced over convictions of committing various violent crimes in the governorate of Minya on the back of the 2013 ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

The defendants were charged with "sabotaging public, judicial and police buildings" following the deadly dispersal of two pro-Morsi protest camps in Cairo more than one month after his ouster.

The court handed 249 defendants terms of life in prison in absentia, while sentencing 50 others who were present in court to between two and 10 years in prison. The defendants were accused of storming a provincial police station in Minya.

The court sentenced 101 others to life in prison, also in absentia, over the storming and burning of the government telecommunications centre in the governorate. 

Eighteen other defendants were given 10-year sentences on the same charges.

The verdicts can still be appealed.

According to Egyptian law, defendants sentenced in absentia automatically receive retrials when they turn themselves in.

Egypt's government has banned the Muslim Brotherhood, declaring it a terrorist organisation in October 2013.

In October 2014, Egypt allowed military courts to try civilians accused of attacking state facilities or blocking roads for two years, following deadly assaults that killed dozens of security forces in the Sinai Peninsula.

On Wednesday, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi extended this provision for five more years.

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