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69 Egypt Islamists get life terms for torching church

Hundreds of supporters of ousted president Morsi have been handed similar sentences in speedy mass trials over past years

Illustrative photo of Egyptian security forces standing guard at a Coptic Christian church, October 20, 2013 (photo credit: AP/Amr Mohsen)
Illustrative photo of Egyptian security forces standing guard at a Coptic Christian church, October 20, 2013 (photo credit: AP/Amr Mohsen)

Egypt jailed 69 Islamists for life Wednesday for torching a church near Cairo in August 2013 during a crackdown on supporters of ousted president Mohammed Morsi, a judicial official said.

The Coptic church was set on fire and a police station was attacked when violence erupted in the town of Kerdasa on August 14 that year, after hundreds of Morsi supporters died in a crackdown on two protest camps in the capital the same day.

The court also sentenced two minors to 10 years in jail in the same case.

Hundreds of Morsi supporters have been given death sentences or life in jail after often speedy mass trials which the United Nations has called “unprecedented in recent history.”

Morsi himself was given a 20-year prison term by a court last week for ordering the arrest and torture of demonstrators involved in clashes in 2012 when he was president.

The Islamist was ousted by then army chief and now President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi on July 3, 2013 after mass street protests against his year-long divisive rule

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