Egyptian court jails 119 Morsi supporters

Egyptian court jails 119 Morsi supporters

Egyptian court jails 119 Morsi supporters

Salafi Islamist politician Hazem Salah Abu Ismail waves from inside the defendants cage during his trial in the Egyptian capital Cairo on April 16, 2014. AFP PHOTO

An Egyptian court sentenced 119 supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood of former president Mohamed Morsi to three years each in prison on April 16 in connection with protests last October against his overthrow, judicial sources said.

More than 50 people were killed in the Oct. 6 protests called by Mursi's supporters, one of the bloodiest days since his overthrow by the military on July 3. Judge Hazem Hashad acquitted six people in the case. They faced charges including unlawful assembly and thuggery. 

The army-backed authorities have banned the Muslim Brotherhood and driven it underground, killing hundreds of its supporters and arresting thousands in the weeks after Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected president, was toppled by the military following mass protests against his rule. 

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the general who ousted Morsi, declared last month that he would run in a presidential election that he is expected to win easily. 

In another case last month, a court in southern Egypt sentenced 529 Morsi supporters to death in a ruling that drew criticism from rights groups and Western governments. 

The Muslim Brotherhood was Egypt's best organised political party until last year but the government has accused it of turning to violence since Morsi was overthrown. The Brotherhood says the group remains committed to peacefully resisting what it views as a military coup. 

Many of the Brotherhood's leaders, including Morsi, are on trial. Mursi is charged with crimes including conspiring with foreign militant groups against Egypt, which carries the death penalty. 

In a separate case, a judge sentenced a prominent Islamist preacher and politician to seven years in jail on charges of forging his mother's citizenship documents so he could contest the 2012 presidential election won by Morsi. 

Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, a hardline Salafist Islamist, was arrested after Morsi's downfall. He was disqualified from the election when it emerged his mother held U.S. citizenship - dual nationality that meant he could not run. 

Abu Ismail was sentenced to an additional one year in prison on Saturday for insulting the court.