An Egyptian court has sentenced five leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood to life in prison for their activities with the banned group. The members were sentenced over the violence that occurred at their headquarters in 2013 four days before the ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. The members were charged with murder and possessing firearms among other charges. The clashes in the Cairo suburb killed 11 people and wounded 91 others.
Among those sentenced to life were Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie, his deputy Khairat al-Shater, party head Saad el-Katatni, his deputy, Essam el-Erian, and former lawmaker Mohammed el-Beltagy. Nine other Muslim Brotherhood members also received sentences of life in prison for their roles in the skirmish. Death sentences were issued for four other Muslim Brotherhood members on trial. The convicted and the condemned can still appeal the verdict to a higher court.
Nearly 22,000 people have been arrested since Morsi was forced from office after a turbulent one-year rule. As they were being sentenced, the men inside the defendants’ cage held up four fingers in a gesture symbolizing their opposition to the military-backed government. At one point, Badie reportedly shouted, “Down with all military judges … down with (President Abdel-Fattah) el-Sissi.” Badie already has been sentenced to death in another case.
Another court sentenced 168 people to two years in prison each over violence at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo in 2012 after the release of a film denigrating the Prophet Muhammad. Morsi himself is currently facing charges of organizing jailbreaks, conspiring with foreign powers and inciting the killing of protesters. He could face the death penalty if convicted of the charges.