07/12/2021, 10.04
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Cairo court confirms life sentence on appeal for 10 Muslim Brotherhood leaders

The defendants on trial include the current leader of the movement, Mohamed Badie. They are guilty of killing policemen and organising mass prison escapes. They are also alleged to have conspired with foreign militant groups, including Hamas and Hezbollah. All the sentences were final. 

Cairo (ASiaNews/Agencies) - The highest appeals court in Egypt yesterday upheld the life sentences for 10 leaders of the currently oulawed Muslim Brotherhood. Official state agency Mena reports the people who will have to serve life imprisonment include the current head of a movement that, at the beginning of the last decade, was leading the nation under President Mohamed Morsi.

In 2019, a Cairo criminal court found all ten defendants, including the group's supreme leader Mohamed Badie, guilty of charges related to killing policemen and organising mass jailbreaks during Egypt's 2011 uprising. A massive street demonstration culminated in the ouster of longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak and the rise to power of the Brotherhood. 

According to the official news agency, the defendants were convicted of taking an active part in the escape of some 20,000 prisoners and of undermining national security by conspiring with foreign militant groups, including Palestinian Hamas and Lebanese Hezbollah. At the same time, the Appeals Court acquitted eight other mid-level leaders of the nation's oldest Islamist organisation, who had been sentenced to 15 years in prison in the first instance.

All the sentences handed down are final. Yesterday's sentences are just the latest in a long line of life sentences for Muslim Brotherhood leaders, who have gone on trial several times since the group's crackdown in 2013 and the ouster of Morsi, who is considered the first president elected by "democratic" vote. He was one of the leaders of the movement, but his one-year rule proved divisive and provoked nationwide protests.

Tens of thousands of Egyptians have been arrested since 2013, many more have fled the country. Last month, the same Court upheld the death sentences of 12 people involved in a 2013 protest by Islamists, including several senior Muslim Brotherhood leaders. President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi led the army in 2013 in a military coup that led to Morsi's removal, amid protests by supporters of his government. The current head of state was first elected in 2014 and chosen for a second term in 2018.

The prosecutions and death sentences have attracted fierce criticism from human rights movements at home and abroad, who call them a mockery of justice.

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