Muslim Brotherhood supporters run past a policeman
during scuffles outside a military court [AFP]
A military court in Egypt has sentenced 10 high-ranking members of the Muslim Brotherhood to jail.
The court has acquitted 15 other Muslim Brotherhood members.

The organisation has been banned in Egypt for more than 50 years - so it comes as a surprise that the sentences were not stiffer.

Some say it indicates that the government and the organisation may be on the brink of a deal.

But this month, thousands of ordinary Egyptians defied government threats and took to the streets to protest food price hikes.

Confidence in the economy is dropping, unemployment is rife and almost 50 per cent of Egyptians are living on the poverty line.

So with the Egyptian populace restless, the Muslim Brotherhood and other opposition groups may look to turn the worsening situation to their advantage.

The Brotherhood has tried to enter mainstream Egyptian politics.

In 2005 its members were forced to run as independent candidates.

In the end, they won 88 seats and that gave the movement the chance to put further pressure on Mubarak's administration.

Inside Story looks at the trial, Egypt's government and an opposition all set to the backdrop of an Egyptian economy that is gradually spiraling out of control.

Watch part one of this episode of Inside Story on YouTube

Watch part two of this episode of Inside Story on YouTube

This episode of Inside Story aired on Wednesday, April 16, 2008 at 17:30 GMT
 

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Source: Al Jazeera