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Egypt military court sentences 25 Muslim Brotherhood members to prison

[JURIST] An Egyptian military court handed down its final verdict [MB press release] Tuesday in the military trial of 40 senior members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood [party website; FAS backgrounder], sentencing 25 of the accused to prison time and acquitting 15 others. The 40 Brotherhood members were originally charged with terrorism, but those charges were later dropped; the trial, which lasted for over a year, dealt with lesser charges that included possessing ant-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. Reuters has more.

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 since 2001.

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