An Egyptian court on Wednesday acquitted a former top leader of the Muslim Brotherhood of insulting the judiciary, official MENA news agency reported.
Mohamed Mahdi Akef, who headed the Guidance Office of the Muslim Brotherhood, the group's highest decision-making body, was accused of insulting the judiciary in a statement he allegedly made to a Kuwaiti newspaper last year, and referred to criminal court last October 2013, by describing Egypt's judiciary as "weak and politicized."
He was also reported to have recommended the retirement of more than 3,500 judges during the reign of ousted President Mohamed Morsi, who hail from the Muslim Brotherhood.
Akef, 86, denied that he made the statements to the Gulf newspaper.
Also on Wednesday, the Alexandria Criminal Court sentenced 88 Brotherhood supporters to 5-10 years in jail but acquitted eight others over pro-Morsi protests that turned violent last July, which left 12 people killed.
Akef appeared in court on Wednesday leaning on a crutch. He was released in a previous session due to his sickness and old age.
He faces trial in two other cases related to charges of spying and inciting the killing of protesters outside the Brotherhood's headquarters in Cairo.
Brotherhood members have been facing a massive security crackdown since Morsi's removal by the military last July, with hundreds of them killed and thousands arrested. Morsi himself is currently in custody over charges of spying, jailbreak, insulting the judiciary and inciting the killing of anti-Brotherhood protesters.
The Brotherhood has been blacklisted by the interim leadership as a terrorist group. Hundreds of its members and supporters, including the group's top leader Mohamed Badie, have recently been sentenced to death, but the sentences have not yet been carried out and they are subject to appeal.
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