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Egypt court upholds life sentences for 10 Muslim Brotherhood members

Group’s leader, Mohamed Badie, among those found guilty of charges related to killing policemen, organizing mass jailbreaks during Egypt’s 2011 uprising; no further appeal possible

Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Mohammed Badie waves from a defendants cage in a makeshift courtroom at the national police academy, in eastern Cairo, Egypt, May 16, 2015. (Ahmed Omar/AP)
Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Mohammed Badie waves from a defendants cage in a makeshift courtroom at the national police academy, in eastern Cairo, Egypt, May 16, 2015. (Ahmed Omar/AP)

CAIRO — Egypt’s highest appeals court on Sunday upheld the life sentences of 10 leaders of Egypt’s outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, including the group’s head, the state-owned MENA news agency reported.

In 2019, a Cairo criminal court had convicted all 10, including the group’s leader, or supreme guide, Mohamed Badie, of charges related to killing policemen and organizing mass jailbreaks during Egypt’s 2011 uprising. That revolt culminated in the ouster of longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

The defendants were found guilty of helping around 20,000 prisoners escape, and of undermining national security by conspiring with foreign militant groups — the Palestinian Hamas and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

Meanwhile, the Court of Cassation acquitted eight middle-rank leaders of the nation’s oldest Islamist organization, who were sentenced earlier to 15 years in prison.

All of the sentences, which the court considered on appeal, are final.

Sunday’s rulings upheld the latest of several life sentences for Muslim Brotherhood leaders. They had gone on trial several times since the crackdown on the group in 2013 following the military ouster of Egypt’s first democratically elected president, the late Mohammed Morsi. Morsi had hailed from the group’s ranks. His one-year rule had proven divisive and provoked nationwide protests.

Tens of thousands of Egyptians have been arrested since 2013, and many have fled the country. Morsi himself was a defendant in the prison-break case, but he collapsed in a courtroom and died while appearing in a separate trial in the summer of 2019.

Last month, the Court of Cassation upheld the death sentence for 12 people involved in a 2013 protest by Islamists, including several senior Muslim Brotherhood leaders.

Rights groups in Egypt and abroad have denounced the trials and death sentences as a mockery of justice.

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