Brotherhood leader Badie loses appeal against life sentence

Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie. (AFP file)
Updated 15 November 2017
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Brotherhood leader Badie loses appeal against life sentence

CAIRO: The leader of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood movement, Mohamed Badie, lost his appeal on Wednesday against a life sentence for his role in violent clashes during political turmoil in 2013, judicial sources said.
The judgment by the court of cassation against the sentence, handed out in 2016, cannot be appealed.
Badie, 74, was convicted for his role in violence that broke out in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia days after the army, led by then Gen. Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, toppled President Mohamed Mursi following mass demonstrations against him.
Sissi was elected president the following year.
In the same case, the court on Wednesday also upheld life sentences against seven other people and handed 10-year sentences to 39 and three-year sentences to 19 others.
They were charged with killing three people and attempting to kill 16 others, thuggery, and vandalising public property among other offenses, related to the clashes in Ismailia in July 2013.
Authorities outlawed the Brotherhood after Mursi was ousted, and arrested thousands of its supporters. They also dissolved its Freedom and Justice Party, which Mursi led.
Badie has also been sentenced to life in eight other cases, only one of which has been confirmed. Two were canceled, two are pending appeal and three the subject of retrials.


Turkey-backed fighters await ‘zero hour’ to attack Syria’s Manbij

Updated 38 min 30 sec ago
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Turkey-backed fighters await ‘zero hour’ to attack Syria’s Manbij

  • The YPG fear the US withdrawal will open the way for a threatened Turkish attack into northern Syria
  • The YPG have also left Manbij but retain influence over the Kurdish-allied groups

JARABLUS, SYRIA: Opposition commander Adnan Abu Faisal and his army are encamped near the frontline in northern Syria, waiting to launch an offensive on his home city of Manbij.

But they are not the ones who will decide whether to march on the strategically important city, held for more than two years by Kurdish forces supported by the US.

The decision will depend on Turkey, the main backer of Abu Faisal’s group, and on how contacts evolve between Washington and Ankara over the US plans to withdraw forces from Syria, a move set to reshape a major theater of the war.

The US and Turkey are allies both in the NATO defense alliance and in the fight against Daesh, but Ankara sees the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) forces that helped the US-led coalition drive Daesh out of Manbij in 2016 as a security threat.

The YPG fear the US withdrawal will open the way for a threatened Turkish attack into northern Syria, including Manbij, but US President Donald Trump has warned Turkey of “economic devastation” if it goes ahead with the attack.

Abu Faisal’s fighters are awaiting orders near Jarablus, a town held by Turkey and its Syrian opposition allies about 35 km south of Manbij. The frontline in the area runs through open farmland where wheat and corn are usually grown.

“We are ready with our forces ... for ‘zero hour’ to begin any military action,” Abu Faisal, whose forces have more than 300 vehicles including pickup trucks and armored vehicles provided by Turkey, told Reuters.

“Preparations are going at full speed,” he said.

Abu Faisal, 36, was an army captain before Syria’s civil war began in 2011 but defected from the Syrian Army in 2012 to join the fight against Bashar Assad.

Abu Faisal helped wrest control of Manbij from the Syrian Army early in the conflict but fled when it was seized by Daesh in 2014 and has not set foot there since then.

The YPG have also left Manbij but retain influence over the Kurdish-allied groups that hold the city 30 km from the border with Turkey.

Manbij lies near the junction of three separate blocks of territory that form spheres of Russian, Turkish and, for now, US influence.

The US military pullout will not only leave Kurds exposed to possible confrontation with Turkey but will also open the way for the expansion of Russian and Iranian sway into the areas that US forces will be leaving.

The US military deployed into Syria as part of the fight against Daesh but officials later indicated wider objectives included containing Iran, Assad’s main regional ally. 

Late last month, the YPG called on Assad’s forces to protect Manbij from attack by Turkey. Syrian government forces, which are backed by Russia, answered the YPG appeal by deploying outside Manbij.

Abu Faisal’s fighters, backed by Turkish forces, made their own advance toward the city the same day but stopped short of an attack.