A Giza criminal court has acquitted leader of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood Mohamed Badie and seven others in a retrial over 2013 violence, the first time the group s leader and associates have been acquitted in a series of trials.
The case dates back to clashes that took place near the Istikama Mosque on the outskirts of Cairo in July 2013 following the overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi, which left nine people dead and 20 injured.
Among those acquitted on Thursday alongside Badie are senior Brotherhood members Mohamed El-Beltagy and Essam El-Erian, cleric Safwat Hegazy, as well as former supply minister under Morsi Bassem Ouda.
This is the first time the above-mentioned leaders have been cleared of violence and murder charges in a string of court cases against them.
The defendants were initially sentenced to death in 2014 by the same court before it later commuted the sentences to life imprisonment. They faced charges of murder, attempted murder and belonging to a group that aims to disturb public security and peace.
But Egypt s top appeals court, the Court of Cassation, accepted an appeal by Badie and the others and ordered a retrial in October 2016.
Badie is already serving a life sentence after being convicted of leading an illegally founded organisation and plotting to stir chaos, as well as other charges in the case known in local media as “the Rabaa Operations Room” trial.
Last month, another criminal court sentenced Badie and his deputy Khairat E-Shater to life in prison in a retrial over violence charges during Morsi s overthrow.
In 2013, Egypt banned the Brotherhood and designated it a terrorist organisation. Most of the group s leaders, including former president Morsi, are in jail on violence and terror-related charges.