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Egypt Sentences Muslim Brotherhood Leader, 35 Others to Life

An Egyptian criminal court sentenced a Muslim Brotherhood (MB) spiritual leader and 35 other members of the terrorist-designated Islamist group to life in prison Monday for acts of violence linked to the army’s removal of Egypt’s former president, according to state-run news outlets.

Eight alleged Muslim Brotherhood (MB) members had been sentenced to death on terrorism charges a day earlier by military court in Egypt, the Associated Press (AP) learned from security officials and the country’s state-run news outlet Al-Ahram.

Mohamed Badie, identified as MB’s “Supreme Guide,” was among the defendants found guilty Monday of participating in violent acts in Egypt’s northeastern province of Ismailia, following the protests that led to the country’s army removing former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, CNN reports, citing Egypt’s state-run MENA news agency.

Al-Ahram reportedly noted that “the court found the [36] men guilty of killing three citizens in Ismailia governorate and attempting to kill 16 others, and attempting to occupy an official building in July 2013.”

Badie has the right to appeal the life sentence verdict.

On Sunday, a military court also handed down life sentences to 12 defendants and sentenced another six to 15 years in prison, while two defendants were cleared of any wrongdoing, and two were convicted in their absence.

“Military prosecutors had accused the defendants of belonging to an illegal group and plotting to assassinate police and army personnel,” notes AP. “The verdict can still be appealed.”

Since his arrest in August 2013, Egyptian courts have issued seven life sentences to Badie, in addition to the three death sentences.

The Court of Cassation has overturned two of the capital punishment verdicts and has ordered retrials, and has granted an appeal against the third, which is currently under deliberation.

“Hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood members have received death sentences since Morsi’s ouster in a government crackdown that Western governments and human rights groups have condemned,” notes CNN. “Many of the severe sentences have been overturned on appeal.”

Current Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Saeed Hussein Khalil el-Sisi, as the chief of the country’s military, led the coup d’état that removed his predecessor.

Relations between Egypt and its long-time ally, the United States, have become strained under Sisi, who has cracked down on jihadists across the region.

President Barack Obama hosted Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood President Morsi at the White House in 2012.

“The meeting Tuesday with working-level [national security staff] officials is just one in a series of meetings between US officials, members of Congress, and representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood,” Tommy Vietor, a White House spokesman, told Politico at the time.

“Senators Lindsey Graham, John McCain, and others have met with members of the MB during their visits to Egypt, and US officials, as part of their routine diplomatic outreach, continue to meet with representatives as well,” he added.

The Obama administration later announced it would give $1.5 billion in U.S. taxpayer funds to the MB-controlled Egyptian government.

Jordan, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Saudi Arabia have cracked down on the Muslim Brotherhood presence within their borders.

A number of countries, including Russia and U.S. Muslim-majority allies Saudi Arabia and the UAE, have officially designated the MB a terrorist group.

The Obama administration, however, has refused to heed Republican call to officially deem the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group.

Many conservatives have declared that the Brotherhood has infiltrated the U.S. government.

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