Egypt’s highest court upheld a life sentence against a leader from the Muslim Brotherhood group on Wednesday.
The Court of Cassation convicted Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie, alongside Mohamed El-Baltagy, another senior Brotherhood leader, and Islamic preacher Safwat Hegazy, who is close to the group.
They were accused of “inciting terrorism” in relation to an attack on a police station in Port Said governorate in August 2013, where five people were killed.
Egypt has previously been condemned by human rights groups for putting government opponents, including members of the Muslim Brotherhood, on trial on trumped-up charges and imprisoning activists for long periods of time or sentencing them to death.
Tens of thousands of government opponents have been detained since current Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi overthrew his democratically elected predecessor, Muslim Brotherhood member Mohammed Morsi, in a coup in 2013.
Several political prisoners, including Morsi, have died in prison as a result of medical neglect.
The Court of Cassation sentenced six other defendants to 15 years in prison and handed a three-year sentence to another one. The court acquitted 59 defendants.
Seventy-six-year-old Badie was sentenced to life in September 2020. He was originally given the death sentence in 2015, along with 15 other government opponents, in a trial condemned by Human Rights Watch as “blatantly unjust” and “a sham”.
Candidates associated with the Muslim Brotherhood received the highest number of votes in democratic presidential and parliamentary elections which followed the 2011 Egyptian Revolution but the group was designated as a “terrorist organisation” by authorities in December 2013, following a military coup led by current President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
Hundreds of Brotherhood supporters were massacred in August 2013 when Egyptian security forces violently dispersed a sit-in protest at Rabaa Square in eastern Cairo.