Egypt sentences dozens to jail over 2013 sit-in

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CAIRO (Reuters) - A court in Egypt sentenced 59 people to 15 years in prison on Thursday for their role in organising and participating in a 2013 sit-in that ended with security forces killing hundreds of protesters, a judicial source said.

Seven defendants were sentenced to five years in prison, while 29 were acquitted.

The sit-in continued for weeks at Rabaa al-Adawiya square in Cairo to protest against the overthrow of former president Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood, before being violently broken up by security forces.

The government says many protesters were armed, and that some members of the security forces were killed. Those sentenced were accused of organising and participating in an armed gathering, among other charges.

Mursi's ouster was led by Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the then army chief who was elected president in 2014.

Rights groups have strongly criticised Egypt for convicting people for participating in the sit-in and for sentencing suspects in mass trials, including one case in which 75 people were sentenced to death and more than 600 handed jail sentences in 2018.

(Reporting by Haithem Ahmed; Writing by Aidan Lewis; Editing by Nick Macfie)