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71 Sentenced to Life in Prison for Torching Church in Egypt

71 Sentenced to Life in Prison for Torching Church in Egypt

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The Giza Criminal Court sentenced on Wednesday 71 defendants to life in prison for breaking into a church in Kerdasa and torching it in August 2013, reported the state agency MENA.

The court also sentenced two juveniles to 10 years in prison for the same charge.

Of the sentenced defendants, 52 were sentenced in abesntia.

All defendants were accused of joining an illegal group, possession of firearms and unlicensed ammunition, attempted murder, torching a religious facility, stalling traffic and resisting the authorities.

The violence in Kerdasa, a town 14 km from Cairo, came shortly after police forces forcibly dispersed two sit-ins in support of former President Mohamed Mursi on August 14, 2013, causing the death of hundreds of protesters.

The events coincided with breaking into a police station in Kerdasa and killing 11 policemen.

Authorities have led a crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood members and supporters since the military ouster of Mursi in July 2013, following mass protests against his rule. Mursi himself is in jail, facing a string of charges in more than one court case.

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Aswat Masriya is a Thomson Reuters Foundation-sponsored website that covers Egypt's transition to democracy. en.aswatmasriya.com

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