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Son of Egypt's ousted leader sentenced to 1 year

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CAIRO (AP) — An Egyptian criminal court convicted Wednesday the youngest son of the ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi on charges of drug possession and consumption, sentencing him and a friend to a year in prison, the state news agency reported.

The 20-year old Abdullah Morsi was not in court when Judge Abdel-Rahman Ayad issued the verdict. Morsi had been released on bail after his arrest in March. The two were also fined $1,400.

Morsi was arrested with a friend after police suspected they were smoking hashish cigarettes on the side of a road on the east edge of Cairo. He had denied the charges.

His family has dismissed the case as an attempt to tarnish their image and as part of a crackdown on Islamists.

His father has been jailed since he was ousted last year by the military following mass protests against him. He is also facing a number of trials on charges that include inciting murder and conspiring with foreign groups to destabilize Egypt.

At least 22,000 have been arrested since the government crackdown on Morsi supporters and Islamists, all pending trials, security officials said.

Also on Wednesday, a coalition of Morsi allies, led by the Muslim Brotherhood, said its spokesman Magdy Qarqar was arrested. The arrest was part of a government crackdown ahead of planned mass protests Thursday by Morsi supporters on the one-year anniversary of his ouster.

Four leading members of the coalition, called the National Alliance for the Defense of Legitimacy, were arrested a day earlier and officials said they are accused of inciting violence.

The coalition had called for mass rallies on Thursday to start from 35 mosques around Cairo and head to Tahrir square and other public spaces, vowing it will be a day of "monumental rage."

The coalition said the arrests were an escalation, and renewed the call for protests which it said will be led by the youth leadership.

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