A military criminal court sentenced 148 alleged Muslim Brotherhood members to life in absentia and acquitted ten others in a case addressing violence that erupted in Minya after the Rabaa sit-in dispersal in 2013.
The court also handed down varying prison sentences to 45 others in the same case. Of those, two senior Brotherhood figures were sentenced to five years in prison, lawyer Khaled al-Komy told Reuters.
The verdict is subject to appeal.
Late Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat had referred the defendants to military trial in March 2015 on charges of sabotage, inciting violence, rioting and calling for protest.
On August 14, 2013, sit-ins organised by former president Mohamed Mursi’s supporters in Rabaa al-Adaweya and Nahda Squares were violently dispersed by security forces almost six weeks after his removal from office.
Rabaa’s dispersal saw the killing of at least 1,150 demonstrators, according to Human Rights Watch in a 2014 report which said that it “probably amounts to a crime against humanity”.
The state’s National Council for Human Rights, however, said in March 2014 that the death toll was 632, including eight security personnel.
Egypt listed the Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation in December 2013.
The state insists the Brotherhood is behind the violent wave of militancy which has targeted security personnel since mid-2013. The Brotherhood continuously denies the accusations.
A law passed in 2014 expanded the jurisdiction of the military courts as it put vital public facilities under the joint protection of the military and police forces thus subjecting any crimes committed against those facilities to the domain of the military judiciary.
According to a report issued in April by Human Rights Watch, 7420 civilians have faced military trials since the law was passed by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.