4 Sep 2013

Life sentences for 11 Egyptians after anti-goverment riots

10:07 am on 4 September 2013

Eleven supporters of Egypt's ousted President Mohammed Morsi have been sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of attacking the army.

The men were accused of wounding soldiers, sabotaging armoured vehicles and burning churches during riots in the port city of Suez last month.

Forty-five others received five-year sentences, while five were acquitted, the BBC reports.

The riots followed a deadly crackdown by security forces on two pro-Morsi protest camps in the capital, Cairo.

Hundreds of people, mostly members of Mr Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, were killed when the sit-ins outside the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque and at Nahda Square were cleared on 14 August.

The unrest in the city of Suez, 140km east of Cairo, on 14 and 16 August left more than 30 dead.

It is not clear if those convicted on Wednesday are Brotherhood members. But if they are, the verdicts would be the first affecting the Islamist group since the military launched a campaign against it after ousting Mr Morsi.

State prosecutors announced on 1 September that after almost two months in detention at a secret location, Mr Morsi would stand trial for inciting murder and violence.

Earlier, an Egyptian court has ordered the closure of four television stations, including the Egyptian channel of the Al Jazeera network.

The three other TV stations are Islamist, including one run by the Muslim Brotherhood.

This week the New Zealand journalist Wayne Hay and three of his Al Jazeera colleagues were released by Egyptian authorities after five days in detention in Cairo.