Muslim Brotherhood former leader sentenced to life in Egypt over 2011 prison break
An Egyptian court on Sunday sentenced a leader from the banned Muslim Brotherhood party to life imprisonment over his role in a border and prison infiltration case, after receiving a life sentence last year for different charges.
Mahmoud Ezzat was convicted by a Cairo court on Sunday for "conspiring with" the Gaza Strip-based Hamas movement, the Lebanon-based Hezbollah militia, as well as other Muslim Brotherhood officials in helping to infiltrate Egypt from Gaza in 2011 and storm prisons.
Ezzat had "provided fake Egyptian IDs, money, cars and motorcycles to the perpetrators, who were trained by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps [IRGC]", the court said.
The perpetrators were found guilty of killing 32 prisoner security officers in Egypt’s Abu Zaabal prison, 14 prisoners in Wadi al-Natrun prison, as well as another prisoner in al-Marj prison.
They also smuggled about 20,000 inmates from the three detention centres, in addition to kidnapping three security officers and a fourth police assistant, and forcibly taking them to the Gaza Strip, which Egypt shares a 12 km border with.
It is believed many of the prisoners were affiliated with the aforementioned Islamist groups.
The incident took place shortly after the start of the Egyptian revolution on January 25, 2011, and aimed to "spread chaos and disrupt national peace" the court said.
A life sentence is 25 years.
In April last year, a Cairo court found Ezzat, the acting supreme guide of the country's oldest Islamist organisation, guilty of multiple terror acts that followed the 2013 military overthrow of Egypt's first democratically elected president Mohammed Morsi.
Ezzat was arrested the previous year after police apprehended him in an apartment on the outskirts of Cairo, after having been on the run for seven years.
According to authorities at the time, a search of the apartment uncovered computers and mobile phones with encrypted software that allowed Ezzat to communicate with group members in Egypt and abroad.
Egypt labelled the Muslim Brotherhood a "terrorist organisation" in December 2013.
Since then, authorities have continued to crack down on the group’s members, often pinning life and death sentences on Brotherhood leaders and senior members.