Egypt Court Sentences Top Muslim Brotherhood Leader to Death

Mohammed Badie, 13 others sentenced to death for inciting chaos and violence. U.S.-Egyptian citizen Mohammed Soltan sentenced to life in jail for supporting Muslim Brotherhood, transmitting false news.

AP

An Egyptian court sentenced Mohamed Badie, the leader of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, and 13 other senior members of the group to death for inciting chaos and violence, a judge said in a televised session on Saturday.

The court also sentenced U.S-Egyptian citizen Mohamed Soltan to life in jail for supporting the group and transmitting false news. He is the son of Brotherhood preacher Salah Soltan, who was among those sentenced to death on Saturday.

The sentences can be appealed before Egypt's highest civilian court in a process that could take years to reach a final verdict.  

Egypt's mass trials of Brotherhood supporters have drawn international criticism of the country's judicial system.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, who as army chief toppled President Mohammed Morsi following mass street protests in 2013, describes the Brotherhood as a major security threat. The Brotherhood says it is committed to peaceful activism and had nothing to do with recent Islamist militant violence in the country.

The Giza Criminal Court sentenced Badie to death in March, but the court set an April 11 date to formally issue the ruling after consulting with the country's grand mufti; the mufti reviews all death penalty cases, but his ruling is not binding.

Two weeks ago, Egypt's top prosecutor named Badie and 17 others as terrorists in the first implementation of an anti-terror law passed earlier this year.

In a statement, chief prosecutor Hisham Barakat said the decision followed a February court ruling that Badie, his deputy Khairat el-Shater, the head of the group's political party and others of orchestrating violence in 2013 that killed 11 people and wounded over 90 outside their office. The clashes were at the start of mass protests against Morsi, also a member of the group, and days before the military ousted him.

The new law allows prosecutors to freeze assets of the designated terrorists, barring them from public life or travel for renewable three-year periods.