Egypt’s Court of Cassation yesterday accepted an appeal filed by the Muslim Brotherhood’s Supreme Guide Mohamed Badei and 36 other defendants, reducing their prison sentences in a case that dates back to the aftermath of the 2013 coup and the authorities’ violent dispersal of the Rabaa protest camp.
The court reduced Badei’s prison sentence from life imprisonment to ten years in jail. The other defendants’ sentence was reduced from 15 to three years in prison.
In September 2017, an Egyptian criminal court handed down prison sentences to the Brotherhood’s top leader and 92 other defendants. All but 37 of the defendants were tried and sentenced in absentia.
The defendants, who include former members of parliament and prominent leaders in the now-dissolved Freedom and Justice Party, were charged with setting fire to a police station, a court, a school and other public buildings in the Upper Egypt province of Beni Sweif.
Prosecutors accused Badei of holding meetings with senior leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in which they decided to take revenge on the state for the Rabaa sit-in’s dispersal, in which more than 800 protesters were killed according to Human Rights Watch.
Since the Egyptian military ousted former President Mohamed Morsi, who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood, in July 2013, authorities have launched a severe crackdown on the group and its members. Thousands have been thrown in jail.
The coup government accuses the Brotherhood of committing acts of violence and terrorism with the aim of toppling the state institutions. The Brotherhood has repeatedly denied the accusations.