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Feb 28, 9:46 AM EST

Egypt court sentences Brotherhood leaders to life in prison

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AP Photo/Hassan Ammar
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CAIRO (AP) -- An Egyptian court sentenced five leaders of the banned Muslim Brotherhood group to life in prison on Saturday over violence at their headquarters in 2013 and issued death sentences for four others.

The case stems from clashes in a Cairo suburb on June 30, 2013, four days before the ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, that killed 11 people and wounded 91. The men faced charges including murder and possessing firearms. The verdict can be appealed.

Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie and his deputy Khairat al-Shater were among those sentenced to life, along with former lawmaker Mohammed el-Beltagy and party head Saad el-Katatni and his deputy, Essam el-Erian. Nine others also received life in prison. Badie already has been sentenced to death in another case.

Inside the defendants' cage, the men held up four fingers in a gesture symbolizing their opposition to the military-backed government. Newspaper al-Masry al-Youm reported that Badie shouted at one point: "Down with all military judges, ... down with (President Abdel-Fattah) el-Sissi."

Some 22,000 people have been arrested since Morsi's ouster, including most of the Brotherhood's leaders, as well as non-Islamist activists swept up by police during protests.

Morsi faces four ongoing trials, on charges that include organizing jailbreaks, conspiring with foreign powers and inciting the killing of protesters, for which he could face the death penalty. He was Egypt's first democratically elected leader, but his turbulent one-year rule left the country sharply divided.

Also Saturday, another court sentenced 168 people to two years in prison each over violence at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo in 2012. The violence was sparked by outrage over a film denigrating the Prophet Muhammad made by an Egyptian in the United States.

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