Egypt court confirms death sentence for Muslim Brotherhood leader and 11 others

CAIRO (AFP) - An Egyptian court confirmed death sentences for Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie and 11 other defendants on Saturday, and jailed a US-Egyptian citizen for life over Islamist protest violence.

Judge Mohamed Nagy Shehata also sentenced to death two Islamists who have fled the country, and handed life terms to 23 detained defendants.

The defendants were accused of plotting unrest from their headquarters in a sprawling Cairo protest camp in the months after the military overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.

Among those sentenced to life in prison was Mohamed Soltan, a US-Egyptian citizen who is on hunger strike.

His father Salah Soltan was among the 11 detainees sentenced to death.

Gehad Haddad, a former spokesman for the Brotherhood's political arm, was also among those sentenced to life in prison, which in Egypt is a term of 25 years.

The sentencings can be appealed before the Court of Cassation, which has overturned dozens of other death sentences.

So far Egypt has executed one Islamist sentenced to death after Morsi's overthrow, following his conviction of involvement in the murder of a youth during violent protests in July 2013 Shehata, who has sentenced dozens of Islamists to death in other cases, read out a Koranic verse that stipulates amputation and crucifixion for outlaws, before rendering his verdict on Saturday.

Known as the "Rabaa Operations Room" case, the prosecution has accused the defendants of organising months of unrest and protests against the ouster of Morsi, a senior Brotherhood figure himself now on trial.

The Rabaa al-Adawiya protest camp in Cairo was dispersed by police on August 14 2013 in a 12-hour long operation left hundreds of protesters and about 10 policemen dead.

Mohamed Soltan was shot in the arm during the dispersal, and was arrested days later as police hunted down Islamist activists who had fled the protest camp.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.