Court sentences 33 Morsi supporters

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iol pic afr AMR015_EGYPT-PROTEST-_0330_1A REUTERS A riot policeman fires tear gas during clashes in front of the Al-Azhar University's campus wall with students who are supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, in Cairo's Nasr City district. Picture: Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Cairo - An Egypt court on Monday sentenced 33 supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi to six-year jail terms each for committing acts of violence during an unauthorised protest, judicial sources said.

The accused, deemed by the court to be members of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, were found guilty of violent acts during clashes between Islamist demonstrators and opponents of Morsi in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria last December, the sources said.

Morsi, Egypt's first elected and civilian president, was ousted by the army last July. His supporters steadfastly demand his reinstatement and stage regular protests, which often turn violent.

A misdemeanour court in Alexandria found the defendants guilty of assaulting members of security forces, carrying out acts of violence, belonging to an outlawed organisation and taking part in an unauthorised protest, the sources said.

The military-installed authorities in November passed a law banning all but police-sanctioned protests.

Since then, hundreds of Islamist protesters have been jailed for breaking the law, as have several youth activists who spearheaded the 2011 uprising that toppled strongman Hosni Mubarak and who also supported Morsi's ouster.

The court also ordered the defendants to pay a fine of 50 000 Egyptian pounds (around 5 200 euros/$7 173) each, the sources said. The verdict can be appealed.

The military-installed authorities in December declared the Muslim Brotherhood to be a “terrorist” organisation.

A crackdown on Morsi's supporters has left more than 1 400 people killed, rights group Amnesty International says.

Thousands more have been jailed, including the Brotherhood's top leadership.

Morsi himself is facing three separate trials. - AFP

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