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Egypt court confirms jail terms for 85 students

By AFP - Nov 23,2014 - Last updated at Nov 23,2014

CAIRO — An Egyptian appeals court on Sunday confirmed jail terms for at least 85 students convicted of illegal demonstrations and vandalism in protests backing ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, officials said.

Hundreds of students have been tried in civilian courts after violence on campuses, bastions of pro-Islamist activists following the army's overthrow of Morsi in July 2013.

His student supporters have clashed regularly with security forces on university campuses since a nationwide government crackdown left hundreds of people dead and thousands jailed.

More than 200 Morsi supporters have also been sentenced to death after speedy mass trials, which the United Nations criticised as "unprecedented" in recent history.

A Cairo appeals court upheld verdicts sentencing at least 85 students in separate cases to jail terms of up to five years after finding them guilty of illegal protests, illegal assembly, vandalism and joining a terrorist group, judicial sources and a lawyer said.

Defence lawyer Mukhtar Mounir, who represented nine defendants, confirmed the outcome to AFP.

"A Cairo misdemeanour court of appeals confirmed the verdict against 85 students, including five female students... for violent clashes in Al Azhar University," said Mounir, who attended Sunday's session.

The verdict can still be appealed at the court of cassation.

At least 14 students were killed in clashes with security forces during pro-Morsi rallies at universities across the country during the academic year that ended in April.

Morsi himself and several top leaders of his Muslim Brotherhood movement are also on trial on charges punishable by death.

The authorities blacklisted the Brotherhood as a "terrorist organisation" last December.

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