Africa

Egypt court jails dozens of Islamists over violence

Supporters of the ousted Islamist president block a road with burning tires in Cairo's northern district of Matariya on August 14, 2014 Image copyright AFP
Image caption The men were accused of involvement in the violence which followed the fall of Mohammed Morsi in 2013

Dozens of Egyptian Islamists accused of torching churches and police stations after the ousting of former President Mohammed Morsi have been jailed for up to 15 years.

Prosecutors said the 40 men were involved in attacks which swept through the southern city of Assiut last year.

The court acquitted 61 others involved in the case.

The Egyptian authorities have jailed more than 16,000 people since last August.

At least 1,400 people have also been killed in a wide-ranging crackdown against opponents of the government.

Following the ousting of Mr Morsi in the summer of 2013 there was unrest across the country.

In Assiut, several police stations were set alight along with five churches and a number of shops.

Delivering its verdict the city's criminal court sentenced two defendants to 15 years in prison, AFP news agency reported, while others were handed jail terms ranging from one year to 10.

Dozens of Mr Morsi's supporters have been sentenced to death in mass trials over the past year.

Mr Morsi and fellow leaders of the now banned Muslim Brotherhood organisation are also being held in jail or on trial facing the death penalty.

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