The leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Badie, has been sentenced to life in jail by an Egyptian court for inciting violence following the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi. Badie already faces the death sentence in two other cases.
Badie was sentenced along with 36 other Brotherhood leaders and supporters in a court hearing Saturday. Presiding judge Hassan Farid found the defendants guilty of inciting violence and murder during the protests, which followed the overthrow of Morsi in July last year. He said those convicted had participated in the unrest with a view to “achieving terrorist goals.”
The court also upheld death sentences for 10 other Brotherhood
members, eight of whom were charged in absentia.
The latest sentence follows a June hearing that upheld the death penalty for Badie and over 180 other Muslim Brotherhood members. Badie was arrested along with thousands of Brotherhood supporters in the wake of the bloody violence that followed Morsi’s ouster in a coup.
The case against Badie pertains to an attack on a police station near the southern city of Minya which left one police officer and one civilian dead. The Brotherhood claims the attack was carried out in retaliation after Cairo police brutally dispersed two sit-in protests on August 14, 2013, killing hundreds of people.
International rights groups condemned the excessive use of lethal force by the Egyptian armed forces during the unrest and said it was indicative of a failure to meet basic international policing standards.
Egypt’s military government has cracked down hard on the Muslim Brotherhood since taking power last summer, classifying the group as a “terror organization.”
In March this year, the Egyptian authorities drew international condemnation when a court sentenced 529 people to death, possibly the largest mass death sentence in recent years. Human Rights Watch branded the trial as lacking any legal validity.
“It’s shocking even amid Egypt’s deep political repression that a court has sentenced 529 people to death without giving them any meaningful opportunity to defend themselves,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “The Minya court failed to carry out its most fundamental duty to assess the individual guilt of each defendant, violating the most basic fair trial right. These death sentences should be immediately quashed.”
Egypt was thrown into violent turmoil in early 2011 with the onset of the Arab Spring and the ouster of longtime President Hosni Mubarak. The main figure behind the coup, the country’s former military chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, was sworn in as president in June this year, after winning 96 percent of the vote in a presidential vote that lacked any serious opposition candidate.