First acquittal for Brotherhood leaders who already face raft of separate convictions
An Egyptian court Thursday acquitted Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badei of “violence” charges — along with a handful of other senior Brotherhood members — in a case that dates back to 2013.
Thursday’s verdict is the first acquittal for leading Brotherhood members since they were rounded up by the Egyptian authorities following a 2013 military coup led by current President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
According to two separate legal sources, the Giza Criminal Court on Thursday acquitted Badei, Mohamed al-Beltagy, Issam al-Arian, Basem Odeh (a former supply minister) and Safwat Hegazi of the charges.
The case relates to violence that broke out in the wake of the coup in and around Giza’s Al-Istikama Mosque.
“This verdict is the first to acquit Badie and the other Brotherhood leaders,” Abdel Moneim Abdel Maqsoud, the head of Badei’s defense team, told Anadolu Agency.
Late last year, an Egyptian court sentenced Badei, al-Beltagi and al-Arian to life behind bars in a separate case, while Badei also faces a separate death sentence.
All three were convicted earlier of “inciting violence” in 2013 after the army ousted and imprisoned Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically-elected president and a Brotherhood leader.
Since then, the Egyptian authorities have waged a relentless crackdown on dissent, killing hundreds of Morsi’s supporters and throwing thousands behind bars on violence-related charges.