Egyptian court hands fresh life sentence to Muslim Brotherhood leader
CAIRO - An Egyptian court sentenced top Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie to another life term in prison on Thursday in the latest example of a crackdown against Islamists since the army overthrew President Mohamed Mursi.
The sentence relates to violence that broke out in 2013 after the army toppled Mursi in the wake of mass demonstrations against him. General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi led the military at that time and was elected president the following year.
Authorities outlawed the Brotherhood after Mursi was ousted and arrested thousands of its supporters. They also dissolved its Freedom and Justice Party, which Mursi led. Mass life and death sentences have been common since then in what rights groups call an unprecedented crackdown.
Fifteen others were sentenced to life in prison in the same case on Thursday while 77 were given 15-year sentences with hard labour. Only 38 of those sentenced on Thursday were present at court while the rest were sentenced in absentia.
The judgement can be appealed in a higher court within the next 60 days.
Those sentenced were charged with inciting terrorism, leading an outlawed group, raiding and vandalising government facilities among other crimes related to clashes in Beni Suef, south of Egypt in August 2013.
The clashes took place the same day security forces dispersed two Islamist sit-ins in central Cairo and killed hundreds of Mursi's supporters.
Those sentenced on Thursday included former members of parliament and members of the Freedom and Justice Party.
Badie was sentenced to life in jail in 2014 after being convicted of murder and inciting violence during clashes that took place during the same period.