Muslim Brotherhood figures get life, death sentences over Istiqama mosque violence

Giza Criminal Court on Saturday sentenced six Muslim Brotherhood figures to life and gave other six fugitive suspects the death sentence pending approval of the mufti over involvement in the killing of 10 and injuring of 20 people during violence at the vicinity of Istiqama mosque.
The suspects sentenced to life include Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie, group figures Essam al-Erian, Mohamed al-Beltagy, former Supply Minister Bassem Ouda, pro-Brotherhood group Safwat Hegazy and three others, while those sentenced to death include Jamaa al-Islamiya figure Assem Abdel Maged.
Badie and the 13 other defendants in the case were originally sentenced to death over the same charges on 19 June. Yet the Mufti, Egypt's top religious authority, refused to ratify the death sentences issued against the 14 defendants.
Osama al-Helw, among the defense team, told Aswat Masriya they will appeal the life in prison verdicts against the eight defendants sentenced in session at the Court of Cassation. 
The same court had referred the defendants to the Grand Mufti on 19 June. 
The court referred the case back to the Mufti on 7 August to reconsider his decision, after he refused to ratify the death sentences. The head of the court said that the Mufti's report wrongly addressed technical evidence while it should have only reflected the Mufti's forensic opinion.
The Grand Mufti's decisions are not legally binding, yet it is customary for the court to adopt them.
The defendants are accused of murder, attempted murder and joining an organization which aims at disturbing the public peace, purposefully vandalizing public and private properties and resisting the authorities. 
Clashes erupted outside the Istiqama Mosque on 22 July last year, following the ouster of former Islamist President Mohamed Morsy, leaving nine killed and 21 injured, according to the prosecutor general's office.
Badie has already been served a ratified death sentence over clashes in Minya last August. A criminal court confirmed on 19 June the supreme guide's death sentence alongside 182 other defendants. The mass death sentence has garnered international condemnation.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm with content from Aswat Masriya

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