By Meryem Kasim and Aydogan Kalabalik
CAIRO (AA) – A court ruling officially designating Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood group as a "terrorist organization" was published in Egypt's official gazette on Sunday.
On April 14, a Cairo criminal court ruled that the Muslim Brotherhood -- along with 215 individuals -- should be included on the country’s list of "terrorists" for a three-year period.
"We plan to appeal the decision at a higher court," Abdel-Moneim Abdel-Maqsoud, head of the Brotherhood’s legal defense team, told Anadolu Agency.
The Egyptian government first designated the Brotherhood a "terrorist organization" in December of 2013, six months after Mohamed Morsi -- the country’s first democratically elected president and a Brotherhood leader -- was ousted and imprisoned in a military coup.
The embattled Brotherhood rejected the decision at the time, saying it was devoted to strictly peaceful means of protest.
In line with a law issued by President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi (a former army chief who succeeded Morsi as president) in February of last year, Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie and 17 other high-ranking group members were included on the list -- a move later appealed in court.
Since Morsi’s ouster in mid-2013, the Egyptian authorities have launched a relentless crackdown on his supporters and members of his now-outlawed Brotherhood group, killing hundreds and throwing tens of thousands behind bars.
In a statement posted online, Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Talaat Fahmi reiterated the group’s "rejection" of the terrorist listing.
"The truth cannot be altered by these vicious [court] decisions," Fahmi declared.
"The Muslim Brotherhood is struggling for a cause," he said. "We reject the use of violence and strive for a peaceful revolution."
*Anadolu Agency correspondent Sibel Ugurlu contributed to this report from Ankara