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Egypt top court confirms life sentences for Muslim Brotherhood leader, nine other 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)
In this file photo taken on April 21, 2015, top Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leaders Essam el-Erian (C) and Mohamed Beltagi (R) gesture with fellow accused from the defendants cage during their trial alongside 14 others. (Photo by AFP)

A court in Egypt has upheld life sentences for 10 members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood movement, including its leader, over purported prison breaks and police killings during the 2011 popular uprising, which led to the ouster of long-time president Hosni Mubarak.

On Sunday, Egypt’s Court of Cassation, the highest court in the country’s criminal judicial system, confirmed the sentences for the movement's leader Mohamed Badie and his nine co-defendants.

The defendants were originally handed the life terms - 25 years in Egypt - back in 2019. They had been found guilty of allegedly attempting to enter prisons and free their detained comrades.

The court also acquitted eight other, lower-ranking Brotherhood members on Sunday. These defendants had been sentenced to 15 years in prison for alleged violence during the 2011 revolution against Mubarak, who ruled over Egypt for three decades.

The rulings by the Court of Cassation on Sunday are final and cannot be appealed.

Last month, it also confirmed death sentences against 12 members of the Muslim Brotherhood, including two senior figures, for various offences such as purported bomb-making.

Back in 2012, Mohamed Morsi became Egypt’s first democratically-elected president. However, a military coup led by Egypt’s former defense minister and current President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi ended Morsi’s presidency in July 2013 and led to his imprisonment.

Morsi died in June 2019 after appearing in court in the capital Cairo, after six years in prison.

Since 2013, when the Muslim Brotherhood was blacklisted as a “terrorist organization”, Egypt has launched a crackdown against thousands of its members and supporters and executed dozens of others.

Sisi has long been facing international condemnation for his crackdown on political and civil society groups since he took power in 2014.

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