Last updated: 30 December, 2013

Egypt hands 139 Morsi backers 2-year jail terms

An Egyptian court Monday sentenced 139 Islamist supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi 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 or 550 euros).

The military deposed Morsi, 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 Islamists.

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