An Egyptian court on Tuesday, June 16, maintained a death sentence against the former President of the country, Mohammed Morsi for the mass prison break of 2011.
Tuesday’s ruling reaffirms an initial decision in the case in May, in which Morsi and more than 100 others were sentenced to death.
The Egyptian authorities had accused Mr. Morsi, and over 100 other co-defendants of conspiring with Palestinian group (Hamas) and Lebanese group (Hezbollah) to break into prisons across Egypt in January 2011, facilitating the escape of Mr. Morsi and 20,000 others, CNN reports.
Some others sentenced to death alongside Morsi comprised Mohamed El-Shater, deputy leader of the Muslim brotherhood; Mohamed El-Beltagy, a former Muslim brotherhood member of parliament; Ahmed Abdel Aty, a former presidential aide; and Emad Shahin, a political science professor now in the United States.
If carried out, the death sentences against Morsi and other senior leaders of the Muslim brotherhood would infuriate their supporters, who regard the charges and trial as a sham. However, no execution is likely to take place before the appeals court rules on the case.
Before issuing the ruling, Judge Shaban El-Shamy read a lengthy series of remarks detailing what he described as a litany of ills committed by the Muslim brotherhood, including “spreading chaos and seeking to bring down the Egyptian state.” Prosecutors alleged that Islamist leaders conspired with militants to escape prison custody.
The ruling was issued in a makeshift courtroom as Morsi watched on inside a soundproof defendant’s cage.
A television footage shows how Morsi and other defendants appeared inside a metal and glass cage in the courtroom, dressed in colour-coded prison uniforms: white for those awaiting judgment, blue for those sentenced to prison, red for those sentenced to death.
The verdict can, however, still be challenged in Egypt’s highest appeals court.
Morsi, who was overthrown by the army in 2013, amid mass protests against his government, was spared the death sentence in his first trial as he was sentenced to 20 years in jail on charges of inciting violence and killing protesters outside the presidential palace in, December, 2012.
The Egyptian politician, who served as the fifth President of the country, from June 30, 2012, to July 3, 2013, was later removed by Field Marshal, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, after the June 2013 Egyptian protests and the 2013 Egyptian coup d’état.
He was the first to be democratically elected as head of state in Egyptian history.
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