Cairo | An Egyptian court today sentenced five people, including the head of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, to life in prison on violence-related charges.
It’s the latest of several life sentences for Mohammed Badie, who has also been sentenced to death in separate trials since his 2013 arrest. Charges have included inciting violence and planning attacks against the state.
The Cairo Criminal Court today sentenced four others to 10-15 years imprisonment on the same charges, related to the killing of seven people in 2013. The verdicts can be appealed.
The case is related to the violence that convulsed Egypt after the military overthrew President Mohammed Morsi, a senior Brotherhood figure, amid mass protests five years ago. In August 2013, security forces killed hundreds of people when they dispersed two pro-Brotherhood sit-ins. Islamists responded by attacking churches and Christian properties, mainly in upper Egypt.
In a separate development on Sunday, the Interior Ministry said police have arrested six people, including two women, suspected of involvement in a thwarted attack on a Coptic Christian church north of Cairo.
A man wearing an explosives belt tried to enter the church on Saturday but was stopped by security. The state-run MENA news agency reported that he set off his explosives about 250 meters (yards) from the church, killing himself without harming anyone else.
The 29-year-old man was part of a “terrorist cell” that included those who were later detained, the Interior Ministry said. No group has claimed responsibility for the attempted attack.
Egypt’s Coptic Christians, who make up around 10 percent of the population in the Muslim-majority country of 100 million, have been targeted by Islamic extremists in a series of attacks in recent years.