Egypt court jails 65 Morsi loyalists up to 10 years

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Cairo, Feb 18 (IANS) An Egyptian court sentenced on Saturday 65 loyalists of former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi up to 10 years in prison over inciting anti-state riots, protests and violence.

Zagazig Criminal Court sentenced 44 defendants to 10 years in jail and 21 to two years while acquitting eight of the said charges, Xinhua reported.

The convicts are mostly members and supporters of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood group which has been outlawed in Egypt as a terrorist organisation.

Morsi was ousted by the military in early July 2013 in response to mass protests against his one-year rule and his Brotherhood group.

His angry supporters attacked many security personnel and churches of the Coptic minority in several provinces, following a heavy crackdown on pro-Morsi sit-ins in Cairo and Giza in mid-August 2013 which left hundreds dead and thousands arrested.

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Most Brotherhood leaders, members and supporters, including Morsi himself and the group’s chief Mohamed Badie, are being detained.

Many of them have been given appealable death sentences and lengthy jail terms over charges of inciting violence, murder, espionage and jailbreak.

Morsi is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence over inciting deadly clashes between his supporters and opponents in late 2012 and a 25-year jail term over leaking classified documents to Qatar.

Since Morsi’s removal, Egypt has been facing a wave of terrorist attacks that killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers before expanded to target hundreds of civilians, mostly at houses of worship.

Most of the terror attacks were carried out by the Wilayat Sinai, a Sinai-based group affiliated with the Islamic State regional terrorist group.

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Meanwhile, security forces also killed hundreds of terrorists and arrested thousands of suspects during the country’s anti-terror war declared by President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, the army chief then, following Morsi’s ouster in 2013.

–IANS

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