Egypt Brotherhood chief, deputy get life for 'spying'

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Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie is seen behind bars during a verdict and sentencing session of a retrial for him and other Brotherhood members on charges of espionage with the Palestinian Hamas group at the Tora courthouse complex in southeastern Cairo on Wednesday. — AFP

CAIRO — An Egyptian court on Wednesday sentenced 11 senior Muslim Brotherhood figures to life in prison on charges of spying for the Palestinian Hamas group, a judicial source said.

They included the Brotherhood's supreme guide Mohamed Badie and his deputy Khairat Al-Shater who were both handed life sentences — 25 years in Egypt.

Five other Brotherhood members were sentenced to jail terms ranging from seven to 10 years while six were acquitted, the source said.

The defendants were accused of "committing crimes in collaboration with foreign organizations" namely Hamas and the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah, the source said.

They were also accused of "financing terrorism" and committing acts undermining the country's stability and security.

Mohamed Fahmy, the judge presiding over the case, said before the verdict was announced: "The crimes the defendants committed harmed the independence and security of the country."

"They betrayed their nation and there is no excuse for them," he added.

The verdict can still be appealed, the source added.

The case initially involved ousted President Mohamed Morsi who died after falling ill during a court session in June.

Morsi, who hailed from the Brotherhood, was overthrown by the military in 2013 after a year of divisive rule.

Following his ouster, hundreds of his supporters were killed during protests.

Thousands others were detained in a severe crackdown that was later expanded to include leftist and liberal dissidents.

Egypt designated the Brotherhood group as a terrorist group shortly after Morsi's ouster. — AFP


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