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Egypt upholds life sentences for 10 Muslim Brotherhood leaders

The Brotherhood members are serving life sentences related to a 2011 jailbreak.
KHALED KAMEL/AFP via Getty Images

Egypt’s top appeals court on Sunday upheld the life sentences of Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie and nine other members of the banned Islamist group.

A Cairo criminal court found Badie and the others in 2019 responsible for the jailbreak at Wadi El-Natrun Prison during the 2011 uprising that ousted President Hosni Mubarak after 30 years in power. The prosecution accused the Brotherhood members of working with foreign militias including Hamas and Hezbollah to stir up chaos and overthrow the government. 

On Sunday, the Court of Cassation acquitted eight lower-ranking Brotherhood leaders in the same case, all of whom had been sentenced to 15 years in prison. The court’s ruling cannot be appealed. 

The Muslim Brotherhood is considered a terrorist organization by Egypt’s current government led by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The former army chief came to power after the 2013 military overthrow of Mohammed Morsi, a Brotherhood leader who was Egypt’s first democratically elected president. 

Under Sisi, security forces have rounded up thousands of perceived Brotherhood supporters. Human Rights Watch estimates at least 60,000 people in Egypt have been arrested on political grounds. 

Most senior Brotherhood members are jailed or have fled the country. Morsi, who had been in detention since his ouster, died after collapsing during a court appearance in 2019. Egypt arrested the group’s acting leader Mahmoud Ezzat in August 2020, and in April, he was sentenced to life in prison.

Last month, an Egyptian court upheld the death sentences of 12 Muslim Brotherhood figures as part of a mass trial of hundreds charged in anti-government demonstrations in 2013. 

Amnesty International describes Egypt as one of the world’s most frequent executioners, with more than 100 people put to death in 2020. 

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