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May 29, 11:55 AM EDT

A security official says an Egyptian military court has sentenced to death eight alleged Muslim Brotherhood members on terrorism charges



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CAIRO (AP) -- An Egyptian military court sentenced eight alleged Muslim Brotherhood members to death on terrorism charges on Sunday, a security official and the website of state newspaper Al-Ahram said.

The court issued life sentences to 12 defendants and sentenced another six to 15 years in prison. Two defendants were acquitted, and two were convicted in absentia.

Military prosecutors had accused the defendants of belonging to an illegal group and plotting to assassinate police and army personnel. The verdict can still be appealed.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to brief reporters.

Rights group Amnesty International condemned the verdict, describing it as a "grossly unfair military trial" and demanding that the defendants receive a fair hearing before a civilian court.

Egyptian rights activists have long campaigned against the trial of civilians by military courts. Last year, Egypt executed six men convicted by a military court.

Earlier this month, an Egyptian court issued death sentences against six people, including two Al-Jazeera employees, for allegedly passing documents related to national security to Qatar and the Doha-based TV network during the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood president, Mohammed Morsi.

The Brotherhood was banned and declared a terrorist group after the military ousted Morsi in 2013.

Following his overthrow, the number of militant attacks on Egypt has increased. An affiliate of the Islamic State group based in northern Sinai has claimed most of the attacks

On Sunday, a roadside bomb killed two police and wounded three conscripts in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula, according to Egypt's state news agency, MENA.

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