The Tanta Criminal Court sentenced Sunday 23 alleged members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood to life imprisonment on charges of violence and the murder of four civilians, according to the prosecution.
The incident dates back to pro-Morsi demonstrations on 30 August 2013 over the violent dispersal of the Rabaa Al-Adaweya sit in on 14 August. Protesters roamed the city chanting against the army and the police, clashing with locals who dispersed the protest, chased the protesters, and handed them to the police.
Following the ouster of former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, Muslim Brotherhood supporters held sit-ins at Rabaa Al-Adaweya and Al-Nahda squares. Both sit-ins were dispersed a month later, leaving a disputed number of deaths and injuries.
Hundreds were arrested during the violence resulting from the Rabaa Al-Adaweya dispersal, and are currently being prosecuted in various cases, such as the ‘Al-Fatah Mosque’ trial and the ‘Rabaa Operations Room’ trial.
Rights organisation Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the dispersal “probably” amounted to crimes against humanity, in a report based on a one-year investigation.
Following the 30 June 2013 anti-Morsi mass protest, life sentences against anti-government protesters and activists have increased.
Last February, activist Ahmed Douma and 229 other defendants were sentenced to life imprisonment. Also, Salafi politician and former parliamentarian Mamdouh Ismail received a life sentence in absentia over charges of violence in the Rod Al–Farag district following the Rabaa Al-Adaweya dispersal.