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Muslim Brotherhood leader Badie receives life term in Egypt retrial

Egypt's court of cassation last November upheld another life sentence against Badie
Badie raises his hands from behind defendant's cage after his first conviction in 2015 (AFP/file photo)

An Egyptian court on Sunday sentenced to life in prison the Muslim Brotherhood's supreme guide, Mohamed Badie, and four other leaders in a retrial on accusations of inciting street violence, their lawyer said.

Defence lawyer Abdel Moneim Abdel Maksoud identified the others as Mohamed al-Beltagi, Essam al-Erian, Safwat Higazi and El-Husseini Antar. State news agency MENA said another defendant was jailed for 15 years and three others for 10 years.

The Brotherhood was designated a terrorist organisation in Egypt in December 2013, after the military ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July of that year amid mass protests against his rule.

"We will appeal the sentences within 60 days," the lawyer told AFP. Badie is facing charges in more than 35 trials, according to his lawyers. Egypt's court of cassation, whose rulings cannot be appealed, last November upheld another life sentence against Badie.

Badie, 74, was the eighth leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, becoming head of the organisation in 2010, according to EgyptToday.

Badie and the other defendants were convicted of incitement to violence on 15 July 2013, when five demonstrators were killed and 100 injured during protests in an area in Giza known as al-Bahr al-Azim, Reuters said.

The court had previously sentenced 15 people to life imprisonment in the al-Bahr al-Azim case in September 2014, but an appeals hearing had subsequently struck down the ruling and ordered a retrial.

Since President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi came to power in 2014, authorities have justified a crackdown on dissent and freedoms as being directed at terrorists and saboteurs trying to undermine the state.

Last month, a court referred the files of Badie and other Brotherhood leaders in a separate case to Egypt's most senior Muslim religious authority, the Mufti, for his opinion on whether they should be sentenced to death.

Egyptian law requires any capital sentence to be referred to Grand Mufti Shawqi Allam for an opinion before executions can take place. His opinion has yet to be announced.

Death sentences have been handed down to hundreds of his political opponents on charges such as belonging to an illegal organisation or planning to carry out an attack. Morsi, who was democratically elected and was ousted in 2013 after a year in office, is serving a life sentence in jail.