Egypt courts jail 87 pro-Mursi protesters

CAIRO (AFP) - Courts on Thursday jailed 87 supporters of Egypt's deposed president Mohamed Mursi to three years for taking part in unauthorised and violent protests, judicial sources said.

One Cairo misdemeanour court condemned 63 supporters of the Islamist to three years in prison and fined them 50,000 Egyptian pounds (S$9,100) over protests in November, the officials said.

They can post bail of 5,000 pounds to stay out of jail until an appeal hearing.

The government installed by the military after Mursi's ouster passed a law in November banning all but police-sanctioned protests, amid a crackdown on Islamists that has killed more than 1,000 people in street clashes.

Another Cairo court sentenced 24 Mursi supporters to three years for being in a "terrorist gang" and attacking policemen in a protest, the officials said.

In December, the government declared Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood a "terrorist organisation" after accusing the group of responsibility for a suicide car bombing at a police building that killed 15 people.

The Brotherhood condemned the attack, which was claimed by an Al Qaeda-inspired militant group.

The "terrorist" designation carries harsh penalties for offenders, including possible death sentences for the movement's convicted leaders and five-year jail terms for protesters.

Promoting the Brotherhood can also lead to prison sentences.

Since Mursi's overthrow last July 3, his supporters have staged near daily protests calling for his reinstatement.

The protests often descend into clashes with police and civilian opponents.

In December, a court sentenced 139 Mursi supporters to two years in prison over violence in July.

Thousands of people have been arrested in the crackdown on the Islamists, including most of the Brotherhood's leadership.

Mursi, Egypt's only democratically elected leader, is himself on trial for allegedly inciting the killings of opposition protesters during his turbulent year in power.

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