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Egypt military court jails 18 opponents for ‘violence’

Egypt military court jails 18 opponents for ‘violence’

The court, meanwhile, acquitted three defendants of the charges

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An Egyptian military court on Saturday slapped 18 anti-regime opponents with jail terms for allegedly committing violence, according to a defense lawyer. 

The court jailed six people for life (25 years in prison), 10 people for 15 years and two for three years, Bakr Eid, a lawyer for the defendants, told Anadolu Agency. 

He said the defendants were accused of committing violence in a village in Upper Egypt’s Minya province in 2015 and joining a banned group -- the term used by the Egyptian authorities to refer to the Muslim Brotherhood, which the government blacklisted in 2013. 

The court, meanwhile, acquitted three defendants of the charges. 

Egyptian authorities have launched a relentless crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood since the military unseated elected president Mohamed Morsi -- a Brotherhood leader -- in 2013. 

In the three years since Morsi’s ouster, security forces have killed hundreds of his supporters and jailed thousands. 

In 2014, President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, a former army chief who led the military to oust Morsi, approved legislation allowing individuals accused of committing violations against state institutions to be referred to military courts. 

The move was widely criticized by local and international rights organizations, which expressed concern that defendants would not receive fair trials before military tribunals.

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