Egypt: Brotherhood leader, cleric get 20 years in jail

2014-09-09 14:36

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cairo - An Egyptian court sentenced a leader of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood and an Islamist cleric to 20 years in prison on Tuesday for attempting to kill two policemen, part of a government crackdown that has severely weakened the group.

Mohamed El-Beltagy and cleric Safwat Hegazy were convicted of detaining and attempting to kill the policemen during protests against the military's overthrow of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi on 3 July 2013.

The demonstrations at Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya were crushed by security forces, who killed hundreds of people.

Egyptian officials, who call the Brotherhood a terrorist group, have repeatedly said that some protesters were armed and fired at police and soldiers.

Vocal critic

Two doctors who treated wounded protesters at a field hospital during the clashes, Mohammed Zenati and Azim Mohammed, were sentenced to 15 years each on the same charges.

Like many Brotherhood leaders, Beltagy faces several legal cases. In April, he was sentenced to one year in jail for insulting the judiciary. He has also received a life sentence for inciting violence following Morsi’s removal.

Beltagy was a vocal critic of Morsi’s overthrow, orchestrated by former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who went on to become Egypt's elected president.

Hundreds of supporters of Brotherhood, an international movement and once Egypt's most organised political group, were killed and thousands were arrested or forced into hiding after Morsi was toppled following mass protests against his rule.

Human Rights Watch has said at least 817 protesters were killed during the clearing of the Rabaa sit-in. It compared the attack to the 1989 massacre of protesters around China's Tiananmen Square.

Mass trial

Hegazy, who is also on the list of individuals banned from Britain "for stirring hatred", was a supporter of the Brotherhood and its media adviser.

He was arrested last August while trying to cross into Libya. The trial has been delayed since last year. Three sets of judges have stepped down from the case, citing uneasiness with pressure from the government.

Courts in Egypt have handed down harsh sentences against the Brotherhood, with its General Guide Mohammed Badie and about 200 others sentenced to death in a mass trial that caused outrage among Western governments and rights groups.

The Brotherhood had threatened to bring down Sisi with mass street protests. But demonstrations faded after one of the fiercest crackdowns in the group's history.

Though the Brotherhood was initially singled out, Egypt has since targeted secular activists prominent in the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak.

Read more on:    mohammed morsi  |  abdel fattah al-sisi  |  egypt  |  north africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.