Mursi's death sentence "worrying development" - EU

Wednesday 17-06-2015 11:59 AM
Mursi's death sentence

Mohamed Badie (2nd L), general guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, and other Muslim Brotherhood members gesture behind bars after their verdict at a court at the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt June 16, 2015. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih


CAIRO, Jun 17 (Aswat Masriya) - The death sentences served to Egypt's ousted Islamist President Mohamed Mursi and five others for escaping prison in 2011 is a "worrying development", the European Union said late Tuesday. 

Mursi was sentenced to death in the prison escape trial on Tuesday, alongside 98 others. They are accused of escaping the Wadi al-Natroun prison during the January 2011 uprising.

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. Ninety-three other defendants were sentenced in absentia.

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

The aforementioned sentence is "in  breach of Egypt's obligations under international law," the EU High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini said in a statement. Mogherini stressed that the EU is against capital punishment, describing it as "cruel" and an "unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity".

"The EU reiterates its call on the Egyptian authorities to abide by their international obligations, to uphold the right to a fair trial and safeguard due legal process, including the defendants' rights to a fair trial based on clear charges and proper and independent investigations. Stability and the rule of law need to be guaranteed," the statement read. 

The condemnation followed other critical statements to the Tuesday court rulings from the White House, the United Nations' secretary general and the Turkish president and foreign ministry.

International watchdog Human Rights Watch also condemned the sentences and said the trials were "politically motivated" and "compromised by due process violations".

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 dozens 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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