Egypt court acquits al Qaeda leader’s brother of terrorism charges
Egypt court acquits al Qaeda leader’s brother of terrorism charges

[JURIST] The Cairo Criminal Court found the brother of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri innocent of terrorism charges on Thursday. Mohamed al-Zawahri was the leader [AP report] of the Jihadi Salafist [PBS backgrounder] group and was an ally of ex-president Mohammed Morsi, who is associated with the Muslim Brotherhood. Mohamed al-Zawahiri was tried with 67 other defendants in the case referred to [Al Fagr report, in Arabic] as the “al-Zawahri cell.” Ten co-defendants were sentenced to death on Thursday, and 32 others were given life imprisonment. Mohamed al-Zawahri was arrested [Mada Masr report] in August 2013, two days after security forces forcibly dispersed a Rabea protest group, killing 600.

The Muslim Brotherhood [JURIST news archive] has been facing legal challenges, particularly since Morsi’s ousting in Egypt. In February an Egyptian court put Morsi on trial [JURIST report] over accusations of spying and leaking information to Qatar. Earlier in February an Egyptian court ordered the release on bail of two Al Jazeera journalists being retried on terror charges. Baher Mohammed and Mohammed Fahmy had spent more than 400 days in jail after a court found them guilty for falsifying news reports and associating with the Muslim Brotherhood. Also that month a court in Egypt confirmed death sentences [JURIST report] for 183 supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and ousted president Mohammed Morsi. In October an Egyptian court jailed eight men [JURIST report], including two Muslim Brotherhood leaders, for 15 years over the torture of a lawyer during 2011 uprisings against former president Hosni Mubarak.