Egypt's Mursi sentenced to death, handed second prison sentence

Tuesday 16-06-2015 02:06 PM
Egypt's Mursi sentenced to death, handed second prison sentence

Former President Mohamed Mursi arrives to court - screenshot via Egyptian television


CAIRO, Jun 16 (Aswat Masriya) - Egypt's former president Mohamed Mursi was sentenced to death by hanging and handed a life imprisonment sentence after being convicted in two cases on Tuesday.

The two trials, both presided by the same judge, featured dozens of Muslim Brotherhood leading figures. 

Shortly after, the interior minister gave orders to heighten security presence in the vicinity of vital facilities and to be on alert in case of any threats that may follow the court's decision, a security source told the state news agency MENA. 

Mursi was sentenced to death in the prison escape trial, in which 129 defendants were brought to court. They are accused of escaping the Wadi al-Natroun prison during the January 2011 uprising, with the help of the Palestinian Hamas and Lebanese Hezbollah groups.

A court-appointed lawyer told Reuters that he will appeal the death sentence handed to Mursi. The former president has repeatedly said that he does not recongnise the trials he faces.  

Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie, his deputy Rashad Bayoumi, and leading Brotherhood figures Saad al-Katatny and Essam El-Erian were also handed death sentences for the prison escape case.

This is Badie's third death sentence. The Brotherhood's highest leader appeared in court donning a red prison uniform, the color worn by people awaiting capital punishment.  

Around 100 were sentenced to death in the prison escape case, only six of whom were in the session, while the vast majority were sentenced in absentia. The remaining defendants were handed varying prison sentences. 

According to Egyptian law, there is room to appeal the death sentences. Even if the defendants choose not to, Egyptian prosecutors automatically appeal death sentences.  

Earlier on Tuesday, Mursi and Badie were both sentenced to life in prison for an espionage case. 16 were sentenced to death in the espionage case, including Brotherhood figures Khairat al-Shater and Mohamed El-Beltagy.

Mursi and 35 other defendants were charged with espionage, disclosing state secrets to foreign countries, funding terrorism, conducting military training to serve an international branch of the Brotherhood, and "endangering the independence, unity and safety of the state.

Mursi has so far been convicted in three cases after being found guilty of show of force and detention associated with physical torture of protesters during deadly protests in 2012. He was handed 20 years of maximum security prison in April. 

Mursi, who became Egypt's president in June 2012 after the first democratic elections in the country, was eventually ousted at the hands of the military following mass protests against his rule, after a year in power.

Since his removal in July 2013, Mursi has faced multiple charges in five trials.

The former president still faces charges in a separate espionage trial and for insulting the judiciary.

His ouster was also followed by the arrests of Brotherhood leading figures. 

Egypt listed the Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation in December 2013 and insists it is behind the wave of militancy which has targeted security personnel since July 2013.

The Brotherhood continuously denies the accusations. 

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