29 alleged Islamists imprisoned for 5 years

Islamists imprisoned
An Egyptian woman overcome by emotion weeps after a judge sentenced to death more than 680 alleged supporters of the country’s ousted Islamist president over acts of violence and the murder of policemen in the latest mass trial in the southern city of Minya, Egypt, Monday, April 28, 2014. Attorney Ahmed Hefni told reporters outside the court in Minya on Monday that the death sentences first have to be approved by Egypt's mufti, the top Islamic official — a step that is usually considered a formality. (AP Photo/Ahmed Gomaa)
CAIRO (AP) – An Egyptian court on Tuesday sentenced 29 people that it described as Islamist supporters of the ousted president to five years imprisonment on several charges that included rioting.

The ruling by Nasr City misdemeanor court was in connection to demonstrations held to protest last July’s ouster of Mohammed Morsi by the military.

The sentences came a day after a court in southern Egypt sentenced more than 680 people to death from clashes stemming from last year’s post-coup violence.

The death sentences were condemned in the West and by human rights groups as contrary to the rule of law.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Tuesday called them “outrageous” and said it was “high time that Egypt takes its human rights commitments seriously.” She also noted that Egypt had ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of the Middle East and North Africa division at Human Rights Watch, said the verdicts were evidence that Egypt’s judicial system was “broken.”

“Egypt is handing out death sentences like candy,” she said in an announcement.

In Berlin, the German government summoned Egypt’s ambassador to the Foreign Ministry to protest the death sentences.

The sentences are not final and many are expected to be overturned on appeal.

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