A criminal court issued prison verdicts against 119 defendants on charges of the arson of St Mary’s Church in Sohag governorate, state media reported.
The court sentenced 26 of the defendants to life imprisonment, while 67 were sentenced to a total of 15 years. A further 26 suspects received 10 years, including sentences in absentia. Charges also include non-peaceful assembly, use of weapons and sabotage. Only 68 of the 119 defendants had been detained.
The arson attack took place in August 2013, as pro-Muslim Brotherhood protests erupted across the country following the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi on 3 July 2013. Demonstrations were characterised by violence and constant clashes with security forces, and attacks on security facilities and churches.
There are ongoing mass trial cases of Muslim Brotherhood leaders and members related to incidents that started after the bloody dispersal of the Rabaa Al-Adaweya and Al-Nahda Square sit-ins in August 2013. This was followed by a severe crackdown on the now-banned organisation’s members, media outlets, headquarters and assets. The Muslim Brotherhood’s Supreme Guide, Mohamed Badie, has been one of the most high profile defendants facing trial relating to similar violent events.