Egypt’s Former President Mursi Sentenced to Life in Espionage Trial

Egypt’s ousted president Mohamed Mursi was sentenced to life in prison and 16 others to death on Tuesday in an espionage case.

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.

Of those sentenced to death, 13 were being tried in absentia and three were sentenced in session, including leading Brotherhood figures Khairat al-Shater and Mohamed El-Beltagy.

In addition to Mursi, 16 were sentenced to life imprisonment, including Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie, who has previously been handed two death sentences in separate cases.

Two defendants were sentenced to seven years in prison.

The judge presiding over the trial said the Brotherhood has “diabolical” goals “under the guise of religion”, during the session which was aired live on state television.

The court did not find room for “compassion,” the judge said right before issuing the verdict.

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

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.

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.

In April, the former president was convicted for the first time and sentenced to 20 years of maximum security prison for charges of show of force and detention associated with physical torture of protesters during deadly protests in 2012. He was nevertheless acquitted of murder charges.

Mursi still faces a separate espionage trial and a trial for charges of insulting the judiciary.

The death sentences come after the case was referred to Egypt’s Grand Mufti on May 16, a procedural step adopted by Egypt’s courts before sentencing defendants to death.

Since the defendants’ referral to the Mufti, criticism was leveled by several groups and countries, including the pro-Mursi Anti-Coup Alliance, the Palestinian Hamas movement, Amnesty International, the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union.

Egypt has gly rejected the condemnations and reactions, particularly objecting to comments on the judiciary.

Source : Aswat Masriya