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Egypt court convicts 15 Muslim Brotherhood members

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The photo taken on January 24, 2014 shows supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood chanting slogans and raising posters of the four finger symbol known as "Rabaa", which means four in Arabic, remembering those killed in the crackdown on the Rabaa al-Adawiya protest camp in Cairo. (Photo by AFP)

A court in Egypt has sentenced eight members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood to life in prison and handed down a three-year jail sentence to seven others.

According to Arabic-language Egyptian daily al-Youm al-Sabe', the Zagazig Criminal Court issued the ruling on Wednesday after it convicted the individuals of being members of “a terrorist organization.”

The defendants were among 18 people who were arrested back in 2016 for allegedly “inciting violence, distributing inflammatory leaflets against the state institutions and possessing burning materials to carry out acts of sabotage in the city of Abu Hammad” in Sharqia province.

Three other suspects in the same case were acquitted.

The Egyptian government has been cracking down on dissent since the country's first democratically-elected president, Mohamed Morsi, was ousted in a military coup led by the former head of the armed forces and current President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in July 2013.

Rights groups say the clampdown on the supporters of Morsi has led to the deaths of over 1,400 people and the arrest of 22,000 others, including some 200 people who have been sentenced to death in mass trials.

Following the coup, Cairo labeled the Muslim Brotherhood as a “terrorist organization” and Egyptian courts have sentenced hundreds of Brotherhood members to death, including Morsi himself. The Brotherhood, however, says it is a peaceful organization.

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