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Egyptian courts convict 113 over pro-Mursi protests

Egyptian courts convicted 113 Muslim Brotherhood supporters on Thursday on charges including attacking police, rioting and weapons possession in three separate cases brought after protests against the army-backed government.

The authorities have been cracking down hard on the Brotherhood since the military deposed Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in July following mass protests against his rule.

The government accuses the Brotherhood of turning to violence and declared it a terrorist group on December 25.

The group says it is committed to peaceful protest.

Thursday's rulings included three-year prison terms for 63 people in a single case, one of the biggest mass sentencings to date. The judge fined each of them 50,000 Egyptian pounds ($7,200). He set a bail of 5,000 pounds which allows them to avoid prison while they appeal the verdict.

The case related to protests in Cairo in late November.

In a separate case, another 24 Brotherhood supporters were also sentenced to three years in prison, with labor, over clashes around the same time in a different part of Cairo.

The charges against them included rioting, illegal gathering, attacking the police and belonging to an armed terrorist gang.

In the third case, a court sentenced 26 students of Al-Azhar University to 2-1/2 years in prison each, also on charges including assaulting the security forces, illegal gathering and thuggery. Al-Azhar University in Cairo has been the scene of frequent anti-government protests since Mursi's downfall.

($1 = 6.9562 Egyptian pounds)

[Source: Reuters, Cairo, 09Jan14]

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Crisis in Egypt
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