CAIRO (Reuters) - A military court sentenced 141 supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood to up to 15 years in prison on Tuesday for ransacking public facilities and rioting, the defendants’ lawyers told Reuters.
The Assiut military court sentenced 96 of them to 15 years in absentia. Forty-two of those in detention were sentenced to seven years in prison and three of those detained to five years. The 45 detained were each also fined 20,000 Egyptian pounds (£856.5), said lawyers Khaled al-Koumy and Mohamed Samir.
The case dealt with events in August 2013 in the city of Malawi in the Province of Minya which were among a wave of unrest after the army removed elected Islamist president Mohamed Mursi from power, following mass protests against his rule.
Suspects in security and terrorism-related cases are often sent to the military courts in Egypt. The general prosecution referred the defendants to a military tribunal in March last year.
The Ministry of Interior has said the suicide bomber who carried out an attack that killed 25 people at Cairo’s Coptic cathedral on Sunday was a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but exiled Muslim Brotherhood officials and local militant groups have joined the international community in condemnation.
The government deems the Brotherhood a terrorist organisation. The group, Egypt’s oldest opposition movement, says it is committed to peaceful activism.
Since toppling Mursi and winning a presidential election the following year, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a former general, has crushed dissent. Security forces killed hundreds of Mursi supporters in a crackdown on protesters on a single day in August 2013.
Thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters have since been detained and hundreds have received death sentences or lengthy prison terms in mass trials condemned by human rights groups as legally flawed and politically motivated. None of the death sentences has been carried out.
The Egyptian government says the judiciary is independent and that it never intervenes in its work.
Reporting by Mohamed Abdellah; Writing by Amina Ismail; Editing by Andrew Roche