Egypt court orders retrial of brotherhood head, 36 others
Egypt’s top court on Thursday ordered a retrial of Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie, overturning a death sentence for Islamist protest violence, a judicial official and a lawyer said.
Thirty-six co-defendants who were condemned to death or life in prison by a lower court will be retried along with Badie, who has also been sentenced to death in a different case.
They had been found guilty of plotting unrest from an “operations room” in a Cairo protest camp in the months after the army ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.
The convictions were appealed before the Court of Cassation, which on Thursday overturned them and ordered a retrial.
“The ruling concerns all 37 defendants who are behind bars. Twelve of them including Badie had been sentenced to death” by the lower court, defence lawyer Abdel Moneim Abdel Maqsud told AFP.
Badie’s co-defendants include U.S.-Egyptian citizen Mohamed Soltan, who had been sentenced to life in prison.
Soltan was deported in May under a presidential decree stipulating that foreigners convicted in Egypt can be sent back to their home countries.
The lower court had accused the group of organizing unrest and protests backing Morsi, a senior Brotherhood figure who was himself sentenced to death in a separate case.
The sprawling Rabaa al-Adawiya protest camp in Cairo was dispersed by police on August 14, 2013 in a 12-hour operation that left hundreds of pro-Morsi protesters and about 10 policemen dead.
The crackdown followed weeks of failed European and U.S.-brokered negotiations with the Brotherhood, which was demanding Morsi’s return to office.
The Islamist was the country’s first freely elected president, but he ruled for only a year before the army toppled him, spurred by massive protests demanding his resignation.
The Brotherhood was later declared a “terrorist organisation” by Egypt.
Badie is facing several trials, and has been sentenced to death in a separate case along with Morsi for plotting jailbreaks and attacks on police during the country’s 2011 uprising that ousted ex-president Hosni Mubarak.
The Brotherhood chief has also been handed life sentences – each amounting to 25 years in prison – in five other cases.