by Al Jazeera
An Egyptian military court has sentenced eight people to death, including four in absentia, for alleged involvement in acts of violence in 2015.
Another 17 people were sentenced to life behind bars, including prominent Muslim scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who, along with six others, was tried in absentia on Wednesday.
The alleged acts of violence include the murder of a police officer in Cairo, a judicial source told Anadolu news agency on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to media.
Al-Qaradawi, the Egyptian-born head of the Doha-based International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), was reportedly charged with “incitement to murder”, “spreading false news” and “vandalising public property”.
Twenty-six defendants in the same case were acquitted, including four senior members of Egypt’s banned Muslim Brotherhood group.
Wednesday’s raft of sentences is still subject to appeal. Defendants who were tried in absentia will receive retrials in the event that they are arrested or turn themselves in to the authorities.
Egypt has been roiled by violence since mid-2013 when Mohamed Morsi – the country’s first freely elected president and a Muslim Brotherhood leader – was overthrown and imprisoned in a bloody military coup.
In September, Interpol removed al-Qaradawi, 91, from its online wanted list.
The international police organisation made the move after an assessment of the Egyptian charges against the scholar, who lives in exile in Qatar.