More than 100 supporters of Egypt’s deposed Islamist President Mohamed Mursi were sentenced to ten years in jail on Saturday on charges of killing and inciting violence, judicial sources said.
The verdicts for the 102 defendants, handed down ahead of a May 26-27 presidential election, relate to deaths that occurred during clashes in Cairo last July between supporters of Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood and security forces.
Two other Brotherhood supporters who were defendants in the case received seven-year jail sentences, the sources said. Only 35 defendants were present in court, the others were tried in absentia.
Militant violence has spiralled since last July, when the army toppled Mursi and the authorities launched a crackdown on his supporters in the Brotherhood. Thousands of the movement’s supporters have been arrested and hundreds killed, and its leaders are on trial.
Another Egyptian court sentenced the leader of the Brotherhood and 682 supporters to death earlier this week, intensifying the crackdown and drawing Western criticism.
Former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who led the ousting of Mursi, is expected to win the presidential election.
Egypt has declared the Brotherhood a terrorist group, but Egypt’s oldest Islamist movement says it is committed to peaceful activism.
On Friday, two suicide bombings in Egypt’s South Sinai killed a soldier and wounded at least eight people and two other bombs killed two people in Cairo, official sources said.
Islamist militants based in the Sinai have stepped up attacks on security forces since the toppling of Mursi, killing hundreds in a fast-growing insurgency.
The violence and political tensions have hammered the tourism industry, a pillar of the economy. (Reporting by Michael Georgy; Editing by Pravin Char)