Cairo - An Egyptian court Wednesday sentenced 11 senior Muslim Brotherhood figures to life in prison on charges of spying for the Palestinian Hamas group, a judicial source said.

They included the Brotherhood’s supreme guide Mohammad Badie and his deputy Khairat Al Shater who were both handed life sentences - 25 years in Egypt.

Five other Brotherhood members were sentenced to jail terms ranging from seven to 10 years while six were acquitted, the source said.

The defendants were accused of “committing crimes in collaboration with foreign organisations” namely Hamas and the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah, the source said.

They were also accused of “financing terrorism” and committing acts undermining the country’s stability and security.

Mohammad Fahmy, the judge presiding over the case, said before the verdict was announced: “The crimes the defendants committed harmed the independence and security of the country.”

“They betrayed their nation and there is no excuse for them,” he added.

The verdict can still be appealed, the source added.