Egypt court jails more than 160 Muslim Brotherhood supporters

More than 160 sentenced to up to 15 years in crackdown on Islamist party

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 18 May, 2014, 8:30pm
UPDATED : Monday, 19 May, 2014, 1:29am

An Egyptian court sentenced more than 160 Muslim Brotherhood supporters to up to 15 years in prison yesterday, pressing a crackdown on the Islamist group before a presidential election former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is expected to win.

Defendants chanted "Down with military rule" as Judge Hassan Fareed handed down 10-year prison terms to 126 Brotherhood supporters accused of violence and membership of a terrorist group in one of the cases.

A further 37 people received 15-year sentences in a second case related to an alleged attempt to blow up a Cairo metro station.

The security forces have detained thousands of Brotherhood supporters since the military deposed president Mohammed Mursi last July following mass protests against his rule.

Sisi, expected to easily win the May 26-27 vote, has signalled there would be no reconciliation with the Brotherhood.

Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie, who was among 683 people sentenced to death last month, made a rare address in court, rejecting the accusations levelled against his group.

"We have never responded to any attack against us with violence," said Badie, addressing the judge in a YouTube video. The judiciary was being used in a political conflict such as Egypt had never seen before, he said.

Meanwhile, a homemade bomb exploded at an election rally for Sisi, wounding four people. Sisi was not at the rally in Cairo when the bomb went off late on Saturday.