CAIRO — Egypt on Wednesday sentenced 35 alleged Muslim Brotherhood members to life in prison for allegedly forming "terrorist cells" to attack security forces and state institutions.
The Sohag Criminal Court in central Egypt sentenced another 155 defendants to three to 15 years on similar charges, including plotting to kill public figures and security officials, and joining an outlawed group, a reference to the Brotherhood. The verdict can be appealed, and 124 suspects who remain at large will be re-tried once they are apprehended.
Also on Wednesday, an Egyptian military court sentenced four suspected Muslim Brotherhood members to life imprisonment on terror-related charges, a defense lawyer said. Two of the suspects were sentenced in absentia and they will be re-tried once they are apprehended, Khaled el-Masry told The Associated Press.
The court sentenced two others to 10 years each and acquitted 13, he said. The charges include plotting militant attacks against the security personnel and bombing malls in Cairo in addition to belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood group, he said.
The Brotherhood won a series of free elections after Egypt's 2011 uprising, and a senior Brotherhood figure, Mohammed Morsi, was elected president in 2012. A year later, the military overthrew Morsi amid mass protests against his rule. Authorities have since branded the Brotherhood a terrorist organization.
Egypt has for years struggled to contain an Islamic insurgency in the turbulent Sinai region. It has carried out military operations there that, it says, have killed hundreds of militants and soldiers. The country is also facing a growing number of attacks in its Western Desert, along the porous border with Libya that authorities contend is used by both militants and smugglers.
In February, Egypt launched a massive security operation in Sinai, the Nile Delta and the Western Desert to target "terrorist and criminal elements and organizations."