|Egypt sentences 102 as campaigning opens in presidential election||
An Egyptian court sentenced 102 Islamists to 10 years in prison Saturday for rioting as campaigning began for the upcoming presidential election.
The case in Cairo is one of several mass trials held in Egypt amid a crackdown against Islamists and supporters of toppled President Mohammed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood group. Retired Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who led the July 3 overthrow of Morsi, is widely expected to win the coming May 26-27 presidential election on a wave of nationalist fervor sweeping Egypt.
His only opponent, leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahi, kicked off his campaign Saturday from the southern city of Assiut, promising to "achieve democracy, development and freedom for each Egyptian." Sabahi told journalists that he chose southern Egypt because he hopes to eliminate poverty and unemployment, as well as end previous policies that concentrated development on the capital and marginalized the south, where Islamists hold sway.
Supporters of el-Sissi have launched his election campaign on social networking sites, while posters around Cairo present him as a strongman in "the fight against terror" — referring to the wave of Islamic militant attacks that followed Morsi's ouster.
Morsi supporters sentenced to 10 years in prison
Meanwhile, a judge sentenced the 102 Islamists to prison on charges of violently rioting in a Cairo neighborhood and possession of weapons. Egypt's state news agency said the ruling puts the defendants under police surveillance for a period of five years when their prison sentences end. Two other defendants were sentenced to seven years in the case.
The prosecutors charged the defendants with gathering illegally with intent to inflict material and moral harm to others and public property, which led to one death.
Since overthrowing Morsi in July, the army-installed government has arrested thousands of his supporters and put them on mass trials, intensifying crackdown on dissent.
The Cairo court sentenced two others to seven years in prison.
Last week, another Egyptian court sentenced the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood Party Mohamed Badie and 682 supporters to death. The court issued the verdicts during a hearing in the southern province of Minya on Monday, April 28.
The same court also reduced the death sentences of 492 out of the 529 people it had already passed verdicts on in March to life imprisonment.
The action followed international outrage over the mass execution sentence.
Subscribe to our RSS feed to stay in touch and receive all of TT updates right in your feed reader