Al Jazeera is reporting that Mohamed el-Beltagy, head of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s political party, has been sentenced to six years in prison for insulting a panel of judges. According to the report:
Mohamed el-Beltagy, who heads the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Part, was accused of offending presiding judge Shaaban el-Shami for a case in which he and 130 other defendants are accused of staging prison breaks during the January 2011 uprising that toppled longtime leader Hosni Mubarak.
El-Beltagy had protested el-Shami’s registration of evidence from within a glass cage used to hold defendants.
When the judge ordered him out of the room for causing chaos, el-Beltagy said: ‘This is not justice’.
The judge took his remarks as an insult, and found him in contempt of court for the second time since the trial began. El-Beltagy was also fined $2,800.
Last year the Egyptian government declared deposed President Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group.
Morsi and many of the group’s top leaders were arrested following his overthrow by the army and are now being tried on a wide array of charges, some of which are punishable by death.
On January 2012, the New York Times published a long profile of Dr. Beltagy describing him as:
….one of the central protagonists of the Egyptian Revolution and perhaps the country’s most versatile and dynamic politician. He is a senior leader in the Muslim Brotherhood who, unlike his peers, is also beloved by many liberals for his fierce support of the protests in Tahrir Square.
In May 2013, the GMBDW reported on the first anti-Israel rally held by the Egyptian Brotherhood since coming to power and which featured Dr. Beltagy:
At one point, leading Brotherhood member Mohammed el-Beltagy took the microphone and shouted: ‘We will repeat it over and over, Israel is our enemy.’ Others echoed the call, and one organizer whipped up the crowd in a chant urging the army to launch a war against Israel to ‘liberate Palestine … from the sons of monkeys and pigs.’