Protests in Cairo (archive)
Protests in Cairo (archive)iStock

A criminal court in Cairo on Sunday sentenced Mahmoud Ezzat, acting supreme guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, to life in prison in a retrial for collaborating with Hamas and other foreign organizations and disclosing information pertaining to Egypt’s national security, the Al-Ahram newspaper reported.

According to the prosecution’s investigation on the case which dates back to 2013, Ezzat, along with others, is charged with committing acts that undermine the independence, unity, and territorial integrity of the country.

A life sentence in Egypt carries 25 years in jail.

Ezzat was arrested in August 2020 in Cairo, after being on the run for several years. He was first handed a death sentence in absentia in 2015. Under Egyptian law, in absentia convictions must be re-tried once the defendant is apprehended.

Sunday’s ruling can be appealed.

The Muslim Brotherhood was outlawed and designated a terrorist organization in Egypt in December 2013, several months after the ouster of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi, a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood, following mass protests against his rule.

Since Morsi’s ouster, Egyptian authorities have launched a crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood members and supporters. As part of the crackdown, thousands of Brotherhood supporters have been jailed and the group was blacklisted as a terrorist organization.

In 2018, Egypt passed a law to oversee the freezing of assets of “terrorists” and “terrorist groups”.

Following the approval of that law, the assets of more than 1,000 charities tied to the Muslim Brotherhood were frozen.