Death sentence upheld for Egypt’s former President Mohamed Morsi

Egypt's ousted Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, stands behind the bars during his trial in Cairo on June 16, 2015.

Egypt’s ousted Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, stands behind the bars during his trial in Cairo on June 16, 2015.

(Khaled Desouki / AFP/Getty Images)
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An Egyptian court upheld the death sentence of former President Mohamed Morsi that stems from a deadly 2011 mass prison break in which 20,000 inmates were set free.

Mohamed Badie, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood group, and Mohamed Katatny, former head of the parliament, were among 27 defendants who were sentenced to death on similar charges Tuesday.

Earlier in the day, the same court sentenced Morsi, Badie and 15 others to life in prison in another case, in which defendants were convicted of espionage.


The verdict came after Morsi, Badie and more than 100 other Brotherhood leaders were sentenced to death last month. They had been found guilty of spying and plotting a prison break amid nationwide protests against President Hosni Mubarak in January 2011.

The Cairo Criminal Court then referred the case to the country’s grand mufti for a nonbinding review, an action that is compulsory before upholding death sentences in Egypt. The charges included conspiring with foreign groups such as the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

Tuesday’s court decisions upheld the death sentences of Brotherhood leaders Khairat Shater, Mohamed Beltagy and Mohamed Abdel Aati.

The death sentences, criticized by a number of human rights organizations, were read during a televised session during which Morsi, Badie and other defendants stood behind a glass cage in the courtroom at a police academy in New Cairo. Thirteen other defendants were given death sentences in absentia.

Morsi was among those freed during the prison break, and in 2012 became Egypt’s first freely elected president. He is already serving a 20-year sentence after his conviction on charges linking him to the deaths of demonstrators at a protest during his tenure. All sentences can be appealed by defendants’ lawyers or prosecutors.

Hassan is a special correspondent.