Egypt court sentences 139 pro-Mursi supporters

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Cairo University's students backing ousted president Mohammed Mursi shout slogans during a demonstration against July's military "coup," in Tahrir square on December 1, 2013 in Cairo, Egypt.(Photo: AFP - Mohammed el-Shahed)

Published Monday, December 30, 2013

An Egyptian court Monday sentenced 139 supporters of ousted president Mohamed Mursi to two years in jail over violence that erupted in July, state news agency MENA reported.

MENA said the sentences could be subject to appeal, while the defendants, who are currently in custody, could each be bailed for 5,000 Egyptian pounds ($700).

The military deposed Mursi, Egypt's first democratically elected president, on July 3 and his supporters have regularly staged demonstrations demanding his reinstatement.

The demonstrations have often deteriorated into violence and street clashes, with the military-installed authorities cracking down on the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters.

The repression has left more than 1,000 people killed since Mursi's ouster and thousands more arrested, including the entire top leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood to which Mursi belongs.

Last week the authorities designated the Brotherhood a "terrorist organisation" and accused the 85-year-old movement of a bomb attack north of Cairo that killed 15 people.

Hundreds of thousands of Brotherhood members now face prison sentences if they hold demonstrations or are found in possession of the movement's recordings or literature.

It also means that Brotherhood leaders currently on trial face possible death sentences if found guilty.
Since the 2011 uprising that ousted long-time ruler Hosni Mubarak, the Brotherhood has won every election in Egypt.

Meanwhile, an Egyptian court banned on Monday student protests inside all university campuses without a prior notification to the authorities as demonstrations by pro-Muslim Brotherhood students entered it's third consecutive day.

Several universities have been witnessing recurring protests by students who support the Muslim Brotherhood. The demonstrations were part of a "Week of Rage" announced in a statement released Monday by the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy which called for protests "in universities, factories and prisons."

Clashes have escalated between security forces and students, specifically at the universities of Azhar and Cairo. One student was killed and two buildings were torched Saturday inside Azhar University.

According to the Egyptian news site Aswat Masriya, the court decision was made after a lawsuit was filed by Tawfik Okasha, owner of a pro-military television channel, which demanded the banning of all protests inside universities without acquiring a permit from the head of the university.

The court case ruling stated that in case a permit was not made, security forces are allowed to immediately intervene and disperse the protest with force.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)


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