By Ahmed Razi
An Egyptian military court Sunday sentenced 227 dissidents to jail for allegedly promoting violence following the August 2013 violent crackdown of Egyptian security forces, according to a local non-governmental organization.
The Aug. 14 Rabia and al-Nahda crackdowns came in the wake of the military coup that July.
The Western Cairo military court sentenced 133 of the defendants, 82 of whom were tried in absentia, to 25 years in prison, and 94 others (72 of whom were tried in absentia) to 15 years each, Ezzat Ghanem, the chief of Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms, said in a statement.
29 of the opponents were released after the court ruling while one case was dismissed after the suspect died, he added.
Egyptian authorities have launched a relentless crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood since the military unseated elected president Mohamed Morsi – a Brotherhood leader – in July 2013.
In the three years since Morsi’s ouster, security forces have killed hundreds of his supporters and jailed thousands.
In 2014, President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, a former army chief who led the military to oust Morsi, approved legislation allowing individuals accused of committing violations against state institutions to be referred to military courts.
The move was widely criticized by local and international rights organizations, which expressed concern that defendants would not receive fair trials before military tribunals.
Hundreds of supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected leader, were killed in August 2013 when security forces violently cleared their sit-in at Cairo’s Rabia al-Adawiya Square.