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Cairo courts jail Morsi supporters for three years

More than 80 supporters of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood have been sentenced to three years for a range of offenses. It's one of the biggest mass sentencings of Brotherhood followers since President Morsi was ousted.

A so-called misdemeanor court in Cairo on Thursday sentenced 63 Morsi supporters to three years in prison each on charges including rioting, thuggery and weapons possession.

Judicial sources also said they were each fined 50,000 Egyptian pounds (5,250 euros) after being found guilty of taking part in unauthorized and violent protests in November.

They were allowed to post bail of 5,000 Egyptian pounds to stay out of jail pending an appeal hearing.

Meanwhile, a second Cairo court sentenced a further 24 Morsi supporters, also to three years in prison. The charges against them included rioting, illegal gathering, attacking the police and belonging to an armed "terrorist gang." Eighty-seven people in total were sentenced by the Cairo courts.

The sentences come after Egypt's government passed a law in November banning all but police-sanctioned protests amid a crackdown on Islamists that has killed more than 1,000 people in street clashes.

Muslim Brotherhood outlawed by government

Egypt's government blacklisted Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood as a "terrorist organization" in December after accusing the Islamist group of a suicide car bombing at a police building that killed 15 people.

In response, the Brotherhood condemned the attack - an al Qaeda-inspired militant group later claimed responsibility for the incident.

In December, a court sentenced around 139 Morsi supporters to two years in prison in connection with violent protests in July.

Most of the Brotherhood's leaders have been arrested in the crackdown on Islamists. Morsi himself, Egypt's only democratically elected leader, is on trial for allegedly inciting the killings of opposition protesters during his year in power.

Morsi's supporters have staged almost daily protests since he was ousted on July 3, calling for his reinstatement.

lw/kms (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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