Middle East

Egypt court jails Morsi supporters

Tear gas fired by riot police during demonstration outside Cairo University. 26 March 2014 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Egyptian authorities continue to crack down on supporters of Mohammed Morsi

A court in Egypt has sentenced 11 supporters of deposed President Mohammed Morsi to prison terms ranging from five to 88 years for rioting.

The defendants were arrested during a wave of protests that followed the ousting of Mr Morsi last year.

In March more than 500 Morsi supporters were sentenced to death in the same court in Minya, south of Cairo.

The case comes amid a continuing crackdown against Islamists by Egypt's military-backed government.

Five of the 11 people sentenced on Saturday were tried in absentia.

The charges against all of the defendants were linked to demonstrations in the town of Samallout triggered by the violent crackdown on pro-Morsi sit-ins in Cairo.

Hundreds of people died and thousands were wounded in the operation by security forces.

All those convicted on Saturday are able to appeal against the verdicts.

Mr Morsi was ousted by the military last July following mass street protests against his government. He is facing four separate trials.

There has since been a severe crackdown on his Muslim Brotherhood group, as well as on other activists seen as hostile to the military-backed government.

The Brotherhood has been declared a terrorist organisation and authorities have punished any public show of support for it.

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