Muslim Brotherhood Leader Convicted of ‘Insulting the Court’

December 1, 2014  

An Egyptian judge sentenced the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohammed Badie, and 25 others on Sunday to three years in jail for insulting the court, Reuters reports.

Badie, who is the Brotherhood’s general guide, is among hundreds of the group’s members who have already received death sentences and lengthy jail terms in mass trials criticized by Western governments and human rights groups.

Coming on top of those verdicts, Sunday’s ruling was made during the trial of more than 100 Brotherhood supporters on charges related to the storming of prisons during the popular uprising that ousted former President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

The judge, Shaaban al-Shamy, decided to punish the defendants after a number of them began chanting “void, void” in response to some of his remarks.

The unusually harsh penalty for courtroom rowdiness was handed out shortly after another Egyptian court dropped its case against Mubarak over the killing of protesters in the Tahrir Square revolt that ended his 30-year rule and raised hopes of a new era of political openness.

His overthrow led to Egypt’s first free election, but the winner, Brotherhood official Mohammed Morsi, was ousted last year, after protests against his rule.

Egyptian authorities have since jailed Morsi and thousands of Brotherhood supporters. By contrast, Mubarak-era figures have been released and new laws curtailing political freedoms have raised fears among activists that the old leadership is back.

Badie has in the past called for a jihad (holy war) to liberate Jerusalem from Israeli rule. A video of him released by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) shows him telling the court that his movement was not against Egypt but only against the Jews.

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