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Egypt court sentences 139 protesters in mass trial

An Egyptian court Monday sentenced 139 supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] to two year prison terms on a variety of charges including rioting and sabotage. The protestors were arrested [AP report] during a July 15 protest in Cairo, where Morsi's supporters demanded his reinstatement. Morsi was ousted [JURIST report] from office as president in early July, when the Egyptian military took control of the government and suspended the nation's constitution. Egypt has faced near-continual unrest since its revolution overthrowing [JURIST backgrounder] the autocratic government of Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

Earlier this month Egyptian state media reported [JURIST report] that ousted Morsi will be tried on charges of espionage and terrorism along with 35 other defendants, many of whom are also former high-level officials and members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Also in December Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] urged [JURIST report] the Egyptian government to reverse its decision to label the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, calling the label politically driven. In late September an Egyptian court banned [JURIST report] the Brotherhood after having previously banned [JURIST report] several media outlets earlier in the month for their alleged support of the group. The order closing the outlets claimed they had been providing biased news reports favoring the Brotherhood.

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