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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Egypt: former President Mohamed Morsi and other Muslim Brotherhood members sentenced to death

Ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi during the
court session
(Image: The Coastal Digest)
Cairo Criminal Court has issued on Saturday, 16 May, a preliminary death sentence to Egypt’s Islamist backed President Mohamed Morsi, who was ousted as a result of the massive protests held in June and July 2013 and is currently facing trials on several charges. Mohamed Morsi is the first Egyptian President who received the death sentence and can be executed if the court will confirm this verdict.

Mohamed Morsi was sentenced to death in the so called Natroun prison break case and accused along with other 105 co-defendants of jailbreak, murder and attempted murder, looting prison’s weapons depots, damaging prison’s buildings and setting fire on them and releasing prisoners, among them many members of Muslim Brotherhood, Gaza based Hamas movement, Lebanon based Hezbollah and other jihadists and criminals held in the Natroun prison, located in Northern Sinai. The jailbreak occurred in the wake of January 25 Revolution 2011.

In addition to that prosecutors stated that over 800 Gaza fighters and militants have infiltrated Egypt’s Sinai and attacked three prisons using RPGs and heavy weapons. These attacks ended with killing several police officers and prisoners as well and abducting four police officers.

Among the Morsi’ co-defendants in the Natroun prison break case, sentenced to death, are also notable Muslim Brotherhood members Khairat El-Shater and Mohamed El-Beltagy.

Preliminary death sentence, issued by the Egypt’s Court on Saturday, is sent to Egypt’s Grand Mufti for a consultative review, according to Egyptian Law. The sentence could be approved or rejected by the Grand Mufti. The decision of the Grand Mufti is not binding, but the previous cases of numerous Muslim Brotherhood members, who received death sentences, were sent to the re-trials after Grand Mufti rejected the death sentences, thus, the Court’s decisions were reviewed and the sentences changed.

The final date for announcing the Court’s verdict for Egypt’s ousted President Mohamed Morsi and his co-defendants is set on the 2nd June.

Mohamed Morsi also faces trial over the case of inciting violence and killing protesters during the Presidential Palace clashes in December 2012 and he received 20 years in prison sentence, though the verdict was appealed and the retrial is expected to be held soon.

In addition to that Mohamed Morsi along with other prominent Muslim Brotherhood members faces trial over espionage case and is accused of cooperating with the jihadist groups including Hezbollah, Hamas, Iranian Revolutionary Guard and others, leaking Egypt’s secret and sensitive security and military information and spying in order to destabilize situation in Egypt. The court is expected to announce its verdict on this case also on the 2nd June.

The Court has also declared on Saturday the death sentence for the espionage case for many Muslim Brotherhood members including former group’s leader Mahmoud Ezzat.

Among the other Muslim Brotherhood figures accused of the prison break along with Mohamed Morsi and sentenced to death as well are Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie, who has already received the capital punishment for the separate murder case in April 2015, former speaker of the group Saad El-Katatni, Vice-President of Freedom and Justice Party Essam El-Erian and a well-known Islamist preacher Youssef El-Qaradawi, who currently lives in Qatar.

All the death sentences in this case are preliminary and were sent for the Grand Mufti review and decision. The final verdict of the Court will be announced on the 2nd June, while the verdicts can be appealed by the defendants’ defense teams.

It’s worth mentioning that the capital punishment for Egypt’s former President Mohamed Morsi and other members of the Muslim Brotherhood were met with heavy critic. The verdict was criticized the leading Muslim Brotherhood figure Ahmed Darrag, who currently resides in Turkey, who stated that this verdict is a politically motivated murder and has to be stopped by an international community.

Egypt’s National Alliance for Support of Legitimacy, supporting Mohamed Morsi, has also condemned this verdict. Palestinian Hamas has also criticized the decision of the Egypt’s Court and condemned death sentence for Mohamed Morsi, other Muslim Brothersood leaders and some Hamas members, who were also accused of the prison break and were among those 105 defendants received the capital punishment on Saturday.