Muslim Brotherhood's senior member Mohamed El-Beltagy (L) and Islamist cleric Safwat Hegazi (R) gestures the four-fingered "Rabaa" hand symbol behind bars and glass panels from the defendant's cage at a courtroom in Cairo December 6, 2013 (Photo: Amir Abdal-Zahr)
An Egyptian appeals court has halved the 20-year prison sentences for Muslim Brotherhood leaders Mohamed El-Beltagy and Safwat Hegazy on charges of torturing police officers at a 2013 Brotherhood sit-in.
However, the two defendants are still appealing other life sentences handed down by a Cairo court on other charges.
The appeals court also reduced jail sentences from 10 to five years for Abdel-Aziz Ibrahim and Mohamed Mahmoud, who are Brotherhood members convicted in the same torture case.
All four Brotherhood members were accused of illegally detaining, torturing and attempting to kill two policemen at the 2013 sit-in at Cairo's Rabaa El-Adaweya; a protest against the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.
The sentences against the defendants were reduced following appeals against the initial court rulings.
El-Beltagy, leading member in the Brotherhood and a former MP, and Hegazy, a Brotherhood member and Islamist preacher, both received life sentences in June on charges of damaging and setting fire to prison buildings, murder, attempted murder, looting prison weapons depots and releasing prisoners while escaping from a prison outside Cairo during the January 2011 uprising.
El-Beltagy was also sentenced to a year in prison for insulting the judges in a trial in which he and other Brotherhood members faced charges of inciting violence against protesters outside the presidential palace in December 2012.