Muslim Brotherhood leader Badie jailed for life

Saturday 05 July 2014 22.11
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Mohammed Badie was jailed for inciting violence
Mohammed Badie was jailed for inciting violence
Subsidies had allowed Egyptians buy petrol at very low prices
Subsidies had allowed Egyptians buy petrol at very low prices

An Egyptian court has sentenced Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie to life in prison, Egypt's ON TV said.

Badie was jailed for inciting the violence that erupted after the army deposed Islamist President Mohammed Mursi last year.

Badie, convicted along with some 36 other Brotherhood leaders and supporters for the same crime, is facing the death sentence in two separate cases.

The court also upheld death sentences for 10 other Brotherhood supporters.

Meanwhile, Egypt's government drastically raised fuel prices last night in a potentially unpopular move that could present newly elected President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi with his first serious challenge.

With an economy battered by three years of unrest, successive governments had said that the subsidies which allow Egyptians to buy petrol at some of the world's cheapest prices must be lifted.

But the authorities had shied away from implementing the cuts fearing a public backlash, something that Mr Sisi, elected in May, has said would not prevent him from slashing state spending.

The state spends more than 30% of its budget on fuel and food subsidies, in a country where nearly 40% of the population - around 34 million people – hover around the poverty line.

Interim premier Ibrahim Mahlab has said that subsidies on oil cost the exchequer $22 billion, against an annual education and health budget of $9.8 billion.

Mr Sisi, a former army chief who came to power in elections after overthrowing Islamist president Mohammed Mursi a year ago, preaches a message of austerity and self sacrifice to restore the economy.

The economy has been propped up by billions in Gulf Arab state aid after the overthrow of Mr Mursi, whom regional powerhouses such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates viewed with suspicion.

The government has also signed off on a capital gains tax and said it would gradually raise electricity prices over the next five years.

Keywords: egypt, fuel