Ousted Egyptian President’s life sentence upheld

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Cairo, Sep 16 (IANS) An Egyptian court on Saturday upheld ousted President Mohamed Morsi’s life sentence over charges of spying for Qatar, authorities said.

The Court of Cassation, Egypt’s highest appeals court, said the ruling against Morsi is final and cannot be appealed, official news agency MENA reported. Life sentence in Egypt is 25 years in prison.

The court also upheld the death sentences against three prominent figures of Muslim Brotherhood over the same charges.

The defendants were accused of giving classified documents about the armed forces to Qatar that harm national security.

The documents allegedly contained secrets on “national security”, and were allegedly traded with the Qatari intelligence for a million dollars. The prosecution also accused the defendants of working for the “terrorist branded Muslim Brotherhood” organisation, Xinhua news agency reported.

Qatar was a main backer of Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood movement while he was in power between 2012 and July 2013. Two other defendants also received life and rigorous imprisonment terms in the case.

This is the second time that Morsi got a confirmed sentence. On October 22, 2016, the same appeals court had confirmed a 20-year prison sentence against Morsi on charges of violence and murder in 2012, when clashes erupted outside a presidential palace between his supporters and opponents, which killed up to 10 people.

Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected President, was ousted by the Army in 2013 in response to mass protests against his rule.

His Muslim Brotherhood group had been designated as a terrorist group by the government. Hundreds of the group supporters received death and life sentences, mostly over violence, murder and spying charges.

Morsi had also been convicted in other cases. On May 17, 2015, Morsi and 106 supporters of his Muslim Brotherhood received death penalties over a mass jail break following the 2011 uprising that ousted the long time ruler Hosni Mubarak.

But the death sentence verdict was overturned and now Morsi is facing a retrial.

The ousted Islamist President, along with the Brotherhood guide Mohamed Badei and seven other members of the group, was sentenced to life in prison in June 2015 for conspiring with foreign militant groups Hamas and Hezbollah against Egypt’s national security.

Yet the case is appealable.

On the Brotherhood page, the members called the verdicts “an honour”, adding it won’t prevent creation of thousands of likewise courageous men.

–IANS

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