Egypt’s first democratically-elected president, Mohammed Morsi, has been sentenced to death on charges of endangering national security by leaking state secrets to Qatar and escaping from prison during the country’s revolution against long-time dictator Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
The sentence was issued on Saturday in the capital of Cairo by an Egyptian court that also sentenced over 100 others to death on charge of jail breaks during the 2011 uprising. Morsi had repeatedly denied the charges.
Judge Shaaban el-Shami referred his death sentence on Morsi and more than 20 others to the Grand Mufti, Egypt’s highest religious authority, for his non-binding opinion.
Morsi and 14 other defendants were charged with the killing of three protesters and torturing a number of others during clashes in front of the presidential palace in Cairo on December 5, 2012.
This is while defense lawyers say there is no evidence suggesting Morsi had incited the clashes, and that most of those killed were members of his banned Muslim Brotherhood movement.
Morsi was already given a 20-year prison term on April 21 this year in a separate trial over other charges, including inciting the killing of protesters.
The capital punishment for Morsi comes months after a court dropped murder charges against Mubarak over the killings of hundreds of anti-government protesters in 2011.
The government of former military ruler and current President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi continues its crackdown on the members and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Morsi was toppled in a July 2013 military coup led by Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the current president and the then head of the armed forces.
The military-backed rulers in Egypt have come under pressure from human rights groups, including Amnesty International, over their harsh crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood members and supporters. The movement has also been blacklisted as a terrorist organization by the military-backed government in Cairo.
Sisi, the former head of Egypt’s armed forces, led a coup d’état in July 2013, which saw Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically-elected president, deposed.
The Egyptian government’s suppression of Morsi’s supporters has led to the deaths of more than 1,400 people and the arrest of 22,000 others, including some 200 people who have been sentenced to death in mass trials.
Muslim Brotherhood supporters continue to stage protests in different parts of Egypt to condemn what they call the illegal ouster of Morsi and the government’s heavy-handed crackdown his supporters.
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