30 August 2014

Egypt: Brotherhood Leader's Death Sentence Amended to Life in Prison

Photo: Emad Ahmed/Aswat Masriya
The Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in Mokattam on fire (file photo).

Cairo — The Giza Criminal Court sentenced on Saturday Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie and seven others to life in prison for inciting clashes outside al-Istiqama Mosque in July 2013.

Six other defendants were sentenced to death in absentia on Saturday. They include Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya leader Assem Abdel Maged.

The court ordered the 14 defendants to pay 10,000 Egyptian pounds as compensation to the families of the two killed vicitims in the case.

Badie and the 13 other defendants in the case were originally sentenced to death over the same charges on June 19. Yet the Mufti, Egypt's top religious authority, refused to ratify the death sentences issued against the 14 defendants.

Other defendants sentenced to life in prison on Saturday include Brotherhood leaders Essam el-Erian and Mohamed El-Beltagy, former Supply and Internal Trade Minister Bassem Ouda and Islamist preacher Safwat Hegazy.

The same court had referred the defendants to the Grand Mufti on June 19.

The court referred the case back to the Mufti on August 7 to reconsider his decision, after he refused to ratify the death sentences. The head of the court said that the Mufti's report wrongly addressed technical evidence while it should have only reflected the Mufti's forensic opinion.

The Grand Mufti's decisions are not legally binding, yet it is customary for the court to adopt them.

The defendants are accused of murder, attempted murder and joining an organisation which aims at disturbing the public peace, purposefully vandalising public and private properties and resisting the authorities.

Clashes erupted outside the Istiqama Mosque on July 22 last year, following the ouster of former Islamist President Mohamed Mursi, leaving at least nine killed and 20 injured.

Badie has already been served a ratified death sentence over clashes in Minya last August. A criminal court confirmed on June 19 the supreme guide's death sentence alongside 182 other defendants. The mass death sentence has garnered international condemnation.

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