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Egypt court silent on charges for convicted Muslim Brotherhood members: lawyers

[JURIST] An Egyptian military court has yet to release details of the charges on which 25 members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood [party website; FAS backgrounder] were convicted and sentenced [JURIST report] Tuesday, a lawyer for the Brotherhood told Reuters Thursday. In a unusual move, the court had blocked the Brotherhood's lawyers, the media, and defendants' families from the courtroom while the verdicts were read. Reuters has more.

Forty Brotherhood members were originally charged with terrorism and money laundering, but those charges were later dropped; the trial, which lasted for over a year, dealt with lesser charges that included possessing anti-government literature and being a member of a banned group. Deputy guide for the Brotherhood Khairat al-Shatir [BBC report] was among those sentenced Tuesday, receiving a jail sentence of seven years. Al-Shatir has denied the charges, saying that they were politically motivated. The 40 defendants were initially arrested in a raid [BBC report] in December 2006 and but were acquitted of all charges last January in a criminal court in Cairo. They were then rearrested shortly after release and Egyptian President Hosny Mubarak [official profile] ordered the transfer of the cases to a military court [JURIST report]. They were the first Muslim Brotherhood members to face a military trial in Egypt since 2001.

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