Morsi supporters sentenced to 17 years for Al-Azhar protest in Egypt

Muslim Brotherhood website says all those sentenced were students at the Islamic university

Student supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi burn a flare as they demonstrate outside Al-Azhar University in Cairo on Oct. 28, 2013.
Mohammed Abdel Moneim/AFP/Getty Images

An Egyptian court sentenced 12 supporters of deposed President Mohamed Morsi to 17 years in prison for taking part in a violent student-led protest, state media reported.

The official MENA news agency reported that the protesters were convicted of attacking the headquarters of the Islamic Al-Azhar institution during the protest.

Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood movement said on its website that all those sentenced were students at Al-Azhar's university.

The men were arrested after protesters in October tried to storm Al-Azhar's head office, which supported the military's overthrow of Morsi.

The men will be allowed to post 64,000 Egyptian pounds ($9,300) bail while they appeal the sentences.

More than 1,000 people, most of them Morsi supporters or opponents of  the military-led coup, have been killed in clashes with police since he was removed in July.

Thousands have been arrested, with many going to trial.

Fourteen suspected Morsi supporters who were on trial for allegedly taking part in separate violent protests were acquitted Sunday.

Morsi himself is on trial for alleged involvement in the killings of opposition protesters outside his palace.

He is to stand trial with 14 other defendants, including former presidential aides and senior Muslim Brotherhood members.

Much of the group's leadership, including its supreme guide Mohamed Badie, are in prison and police continue to round up dozens more each week.

The crackdown has severely restricted the movement's ability to mobilize, but its supporters still hold daily protests to demand Morsi be reinstated.

Morsi's lawyer said Wednesday that the ousted president has warned that stability would not return to Egypt until the coup that toppled him is reversed.

"Egypt will not regain its stability except by annulling this coup," Morsi's lawyer Mohamed al-Damati said the former president had told him.

Agence France-Presse

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