Egyptian court sentences 22 Morsi supports in absentia
Egyptian defendants sit behind bars as journalists attend their retrial over a 2012 stadium riot in the canal city of Port Said that left 74 people dead on May 30, 2015 at the police academy in Cairo. (AFP/Mohamed el-Shahed)
The Cairo Criminal Court sentenced on Monday 22 defendants to 10 years' maximum security prison in absentia for taking part in a protest during the tenure of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.
Morsi was removed from power by the armed forces in July 2013, following mass protests against his rule.
The defendants are accused of taking part in a protest against the ousted president's rule outside the Qubba presidential palace in February 2013.
Seven juveniles included in the case were also sentenced to five years in prison and five more years under observation.
All defendants were charged with illegal assembly, threatening to use violence, displaying force, protesting without notice, disrupting public peace and vandalising public and private property.
In November 2013, Egypt's then ruling interim president Adli Mansour issued a law to regulate peaceful assembly. The protest law has been widely criticised by domestic and international human rights organisations which say it violates international standards for peaceful protests.
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