Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Egypt court confirms Morsi death sentence

An Egyptian court on Tuesday upheld a death sentence against ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi for plotting jailbreaks and attacks on police during the country’s 2011 uprising.

The same court also sentenced Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president, to life in prison on charges of spying for the Palestinian Hamas movement, Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah and Iran.

In a separate trial in April, Morsi had previously been sentenced to 20 years in jail on charges of inciting violence against protesters in 2012 when he was president.

Then-army chief and now President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ousted Morsi in July 2013 after mass protests calling for an end to his divisive one-year rule.

Sisi has since overseen a sweeping crackdown on Morsi’s supporters, with hundreds of Islamists killed and more than 40,000 in custody, according to Human Rights Watch.

Hundreds have also been sentenced to death after speedy mass trials described by the United Nations as “unprecedented in recent history”.

The authorities designated Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood as a “terrorist group” in December 2013, accusing it of being behind violence that erupted after his ouster — an accusation denied by the Islamist movement.

Tuesday’s ruling upheld an initial verdict by the same court from May 16 sentencing Morsi and about 100 other defendants to death in the jailbreak case.

After the latest verdict was read, Morsi, dressed in a blue prison uniform, smiled, clenched his fists together and raised them in a sign of defiance.

The United States, European Union, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon all expressed concerns over the initial verdict.

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