CAIRO: An Egyptian military court upheld Monday a one-year prison sentence against five members of the pro-Muslim Brotherhood National Alliance of Supporting Legitimacy (NASL) over charges of illegal infiltration into Sudan, according to a statement by Gamaa Islamiyya‘s political arm, Building and Development Party.
The five defendants are party members, and include the party political bureau head Safwat Abdel Ghani and the General of the Party Alaa Abu el-Nasr, the party said in a Monday statement on their Facebook page, adding that they will have the right to appeal the verdict in a military court of cassation within 60 days.
The five were arrested July 13 in military areas prohibited to civilians in Aswan, while attempting to escape the country to Sudan; the court sentenced them in September to a year in prison, as well as a 500 EGP ($70) fine each.
Civilians may be tried in military trials in Egypt if they commit crimes on military soil or against the armed forces.
“Upholding the verdict against the five leaders for a year is political, and aims to settle old political scores with the opposition,” said the party spokesperson in the statement.
Gamaa Islamiyya announced its opposition to the ouster of the former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, describing it as a “coup.” A number of former Muslim Brotherhood and Islamist party leaders have attempted to flee Egypt, with many leaving for Qatar. Safwat Hegazy was arrested in Egypt’s Western Desert at a checkpoint in August 2013, and authorities predict he was on his way to the Libyan border in an attempt to flee.