Egypt acquits dozens of Muslim Brothers in several trials

Charged with violence after pro-Morsi sit-ins dispersed

18 December, 16:10

    Protest in Cairo after the clearing of a Muslim Bortherhood demonstration in the Rabaa Square which followed the ouster of Mohammed Morsi from the Presidency (archive photo) Protest in Cairo after the clearing of a Muslim Bortherhood demonstration in the Rabaa Square which followed the ouster of Mohammed Morsi from the Presidency (archive photo)

    (ANSAmed) - CAIRO - Dozens of supporters of the ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, charged with taking part in the violence following a deadly clearing of pro-Morsi sit-ins in Cairo in August 2013, were acquitted on Thursday in several different trials. The appeals court of Assyut, Middle Egypt, acquitted 66 members of the Muslim Brotherhood and sentenced 36 others to between 3 and 15 years in prison, said sources within the judiciary. Arrested immediately after the clearing of the pro-Morsi sit-ins at the Rabaa and Nahda squares in the Egyptian capital, the defendants were accused of setting fire to police stations, churches, shops and the Judges Club in Assyut. Another 30 Morsi supporters were acquitted by the Cairo court of appeals, as were about 100 (including 80 in absentia) by a court in Kafr Al-Sheikh, in the Nile Delta. The former were charged with violence in the Muqattam area - also after the pro-Morsi sit-ins were cleared in 2013 - while the latter had been accused of taking part in unauthorized protests over the past few months, report sources within the judiciary. The acquittals in the trials against members of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), which was officially declared a ''terrorist organization'' a year ago, are a very rare occurrence in today's Egypt. Since Morsi was ousted by the military under current president Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, thousands of MB supporters and leaders have been arrested. Hundreds have received sentences ranging from a few years in prison to the death penalty. While anti-government protests increased in Egypt in November (714 across the entire country, according to a report by the International Development Center), participation in unauthorized protests dropped sharply, in part due to often lethal repression by the police. The country is amidst preparations for the fourth anniversary of the January 25 anti-Mubarak uprising, and tension may rise in the coming weeks, especially after the recent acquittal of the former dictator in a trial in which he was charged with causing the death of hundreds of protestors during the 'Egyptian Spring'. Thursday's acquittals may be an attempt to mitigate tension.(ANSAmed).

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