Egypt court hands life terms to 25 Morsi backers

Security forces dismantle a protest camp built by supporters of ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi and members of the Muslim Brotherhood near Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque on August 14, 2013 (AFP Photo/)

Cairo (AFP) - An Egyptian court handed down life sentences Thursday to 25 supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi over violence in a southern town in August 2013, a judicial source said.

The authorities have cracked down on supporters of Morsi since his ouster by the military in July 2013, killing hundreds in street clashes and arresting thousands.

On Thursday, a court in the southern province of Assuit sentenced 25 defendants to life in prison, three were handed three-year terms, and two others jailed for two years, the source said.

A life sentence in Egypt amounts to 25 years behind bars.

Those convicted were found guilty of torching police stations and government buildings in the town of Al-Ghanaim on August 14 of last year, hours after police brutally dispersed thousands of Morsi supporters at two Cairo squares, leaving hundreds dead.

Another 141 defendants, including an official from Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, were acquitted, the source said, while a police sergeant was jailed for one year.

Those convicted have the right to appeal.