An Egyptian court on Thursday sentenced 12 men to 17 years in prison for their participation in the October protests at Al-Azhar University. The entire demonstration formed at the university in support of deposed Islamist president Mohammed Morsi [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] who was removed from office in a military-led coup in July. The 12 defendants, all students of Al-Azhar according to the Muslim Brotherhood [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive], were found guilty [BBC report] of thuggery, assault and sabotage. They will be granted to opportunity to post bail [Al Jazeera report] for 64,000 Egyptian pounds (USD $9,300) while they appeal the sentences. Since Morsi's ouster, more than 1,000 people have been killed in clashes with police.
Controversy continues to surround the transition following the Egyptian Revolution [JURIST backgrounder]. Morsi's actions while in office have generated much criticism, and his trial has prompted a great deal of scholarship [JURIST op-eds]. In October Egyptian police arrested [JURIST report] a senior leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, according to a source from Egypt's Interior Ministry. Also in October three criminal court judges presiding over a Muslim Brotherhood trial resigned without elaboration [JURIST report]. Yesterday Morsi sued current authorities alleging that the coup ousting him from his office was a crime [JURIST report]. Also this month an Egyptian court dismissed charges [JURIST report] against former vice president Mohamed ElBaradei, who served as vice president in the government set up by the military, but stepped down in protest of the violence directed at protesters. During the same month, an Amnesty International report showed Egyptian security forces used live ammunition [JURIST report] to disperse protesters.