[JURIST] An Egyptian court on Monday sentenced 33 supporters of deposed president Mohammed Morsi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] to six years in prison for protesting without government permission in December. The court also fined [AP report] each defendant 50,000 Egyptian pounds (approximately USD $7,100). The prison sentences are the latest in a series of crackdowns on Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood [JURIST news archive] supporters following the president's removal in a military coup last July. In addition to these sentences, another Egyptian court sentenced 529 Morsi supporters to death [JURIST report] last week, despite heavy opposition from international human rights groups.
Political conflict in Egypt has been ongoing since the 2011 revolution [JURIST backgrounder] that ousted former president Hosni Mubarak from power. Much of that conflict has occurred recently between supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and the former government of Morsi, and supporters of the new government in place since his ouster in July, especially since the organization's formal ban [JURIST reports] in September. On March 18 an Egyptian court sentenced [JURIST report] four police officers for their role in the deaths of 37 Islamists. Opponents have criticized the light sentences handed down to the officers. A day earlier, an Egyptian prosecutor referred [JURIST report] Morsi's youngest son, Abdullah Morsi, to trial on allegations of drug use and possession. In February, the Cairo Criminal Court convicted [JURIST report] 26 people of forming a terrorist group with intent to attack the Suez Canal.