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Apr 16, 9:57 AM EDT

Egypt Islamist sentenced to 7 years for forgery

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CAIRO (AP) -- An ultraconservative Islamist who is an ally of ousted President Mohammed Morsi was convicted Wednesday of forging official documents to conceal that his mother was a U.S. citizen, receiving a seven-year prison sentence.

Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail, a lawyer turned TV preacher, already has been sentenced during his trial to two one-year sentences because the presiding judge, Mohammed Sherine Fahmy, twice found him in contempt of the court.

Abu-Ismail had refused to recognize the jurisdiction of the court or accept legal representation. He often argued with the judge and declined to recognize the lawyer delegated to him by law.

Abu-Ismail can appeal to the nation's highest court of appeal, the Court of Cassation, over whether legal procedures were properly observed during the trial.

Abu-Ismail was arrested days after Morsi was ousted by the military in July 2013 following mass protests. Authorities since have conducted a sweeping crackdown on Morsi supporters and allies, detaining thousands, including Morsi. Many now face criminal charges.

Abu-Ismail's case was referred to trial in July. It is rooted in his 2012 presidential bid. Abu-Ismail had submitted forged documents to the elections commission and was disqualified after allegations surfaced that his late mother had U.S. citizenship. Egyptian law bars anyone whose parents hold any other nationality from running.

Abu-Ismail had denied his mother held U.S. citizenship.

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