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Egypt expels 40 police cadets for alleged Brotherhood ties

Egyptian officials expel cadets a day after 312 civilians, accused of burning down a court complex, are referred to a military trial
Egyptian police deploy during a demonstration against a court ruling in Cairo this month (AFP)

The Egyptian Interior Ministry has expelled 40 cadets from Cairo's Police Academy for allegedly belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood group, the official news agency has reported.

"Investigations have proven that 40 Police Academy students in the third and fourth years belong to the terrorist Brotherhood organization and that they have close relatives who have partaken in the organization's terrorist acts," the agency quoted Interior Ministry spokesman Hani Abdel-Latif as saying.

Abdel-Latif had said earlier during an interview with a private Egyptian satellite channel that political affiliations or active participation in politics violate the police academy's eligibility criteria.

Graduates of the Interior Ministry's police academy are eligible to work in various departments of the country's police apparatus.

The removal of the cadets from the Academy comes a day after Egyptian officials referred 312 civilians, charged with setting a court complex in Ismailiya on fire in the summer of 2013, to a military trial. 

The defendants are the latest to face a military trial since the presidential decree widening the jurisdiction of army tribunals was issued.

Nearly a year ago, the Egyptian government designated the decades-old Brotherhood as a "terrorist organization," blaming it for a spate of deadly attacks on security officials in the country.

The move came as part of an ongoing crackdown on the group and its supporters following the military's ouster of president and Brotherhood leader Mohammed Morsi in July 2013.

The crackdown since has left at least 1,400 people dead and more than 15,000 imprisoned.