Egyptian court overturns life sentence for Muslim Brotherhood leader

Published November 8th, 2015 - 01:21 GMT

Egypt's Court of Cassation overturned Sunday the life sentences of the Muslim Brotherhood's Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie and eight others, who will face a retrial for accusations of murder and inciting violence. 

In September 2014, Badie and 14 others were sentenced to life imprisonment for their alleged involvement in deadly clashes following the military ouster of former Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in Giza's Bahr al-Azam neighbourhood on July 15, 2013. 

Among other charges, the defendants were accused of murder, illegal assembly, attempted murder and possession of unlicensed weapons, vandalism and joining a "terrorist" organisation.

Defendants in this trial include Brotherhood leaders Essam el-Erian and Mohamed El-Beltagy, former Supply and Internal Trade Minister Bassem Ouda and Muslim preacher Safwat Hegazy. 

Only nine of the accused had appealed the initial life sentence and they include Beltagy, Hegazy and Ouda. 

Badie,72, is the Brotherhood's highest figure and has been handed multiple death and prison sentences over the course of the past two years. He is being retried in several of those cases. 

Since the July 2013 ouster of then-president Mohamed Mursi, Muslim Brotherhood leaders and prominent figures have often found themselves behind bars facing what human rights groups have described as show trials that are politically motivated and lack due process. Mursi himself was handed a death sentence which he can appeal. 

Egypt listed the Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation in December 2013 and insists it is behind the wave of militancy which has targeted security personnel since July 2013. 

The Brotherhood continuously denies the accusations. 

In an interview with BBC ahead of a state visit to the UK last week, Egypt's President Sisi who had led the Islamist president's ouster, said that the hundreds of people sentenced to death for their involvement in unrest surrounding the overthrow of Mursi, are “unlikely to be executed because they were either convicted in absentia or have recourse to an appeals process."

The comments sparked controversy as Sisi had previously stated his intention to “wipe out” the Muslim Brotherhood if he is elected.


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