Egypt court acquits 49 Brotherhood leaders

Thursday 10-03-2016 02:53 PM

Muslim Brotherhood leader Gamal Heshmat - Aswat Masriya archive photo

CAIRO, Mar. 10 (Aswat Masriya) – The Damanhour Criminal Court acquitted on Thursday 49 Muslim Brotherhood leaders accused of protesting and attempting to overthrow the regime.

The case relates to events that date back to Aug. 30, 2013 when protests erupted in al-Goumhuriya street in Damanhour city two weeks after security forces violently dispersed the Rabaa al-Adaweya and Nahda sit-ins.

The sit-in at Rabaa al-Adaweya was in support of elected Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Mursi, who was ousted by the military in July 2013 following mass protests against his rule.

The Brotherhood leaders, some of whom were sentenced in absentia, include former parliamentarians Gamal Heshmat, Osama Suleiman and Maher Hazeema as well as Mohammed Suweidan, who headed the Brotherhood's administrative office in Beheira province.

The prosecution had accused the defendants of attempted murder, belonging to a banned group, preventing state institutions from performing their duties, infringing on the personal freedom of fellow citizens, harming national unity, attacking security personnel and practicing terrorism with the aim of overthrowing the regime.

Defence lawyer Abdullah al-Nashar said in a press statement that the court issued the acquittals due to uncertainty about the conducted police investigation and the lack of evidence.

The Islamist-dominated parliament elected in early 2012 was later dissolved by court order, which deemed the elections law unconstitutional. 

Egypt listed the Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation in December 2013 and insists it is behind the wave of militancy which has targeted security personnel since July 2013.

The Brotherhood continuously denies the accusations.

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