Court sentences acting Muslim Brotherhood leader to life in prison

An Egyptian court sentenced Mahmoud Ezzat, the former acting leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, to life in prison on Thursday, months after he was detained in a Cairo apartment.

Security forces arrested Ezzat last August in a raid in Cairo’s Fifth Settlement district, the latest blow to a movement that has been the target of a crackdown since it was forced from power in 2013.

Ezzat was sentenced on charges of inciting violence and supplying firearms during clashes outside the Brotherhood’s headquarters between its supporters and opponents in 2013, a judicial source said. Other senior Brotherhood members have been sentenced to life in prison in the same case.

Ezzat’s lawyer could not immediately be reached. At the time of Ezzat’s arrest, the Brotherhood said he had been pursued on “false political charges”.

Ezzat was an influential former deputy to Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie, and considered a hardliner within the group. He became acting leader after Badie’s arrest in August 2013.

Ezzat had previously been sentenced to death and to life in prison in absentia, but faces retrials following his detention.

Other senior members of the group have been jailed or left the country.

Egyptian authorities accuse the Brotherhood of promoting militancy and subversion, accusations it strongly denies.

(Reporting by Haithem Ahmed, Writing by Aidan Lewis, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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