Egypt court upholds Morsi death sentence

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CAIRO: An Egyptian court has upheld a death sentence against ousted President Mohamed Morsi over a prison break in 2011.

The court in the capital, Cairo, confirmed on Tuesday a preliminary verdict that had been issued last month in a controversial jailbreak case.

The final ruling reportedly came after Egypt’s grand Mufti, the highest religious authority in the Arab country, issued his non-binding advice on the preliminary verdict.

Egypt’s judiciary had charged Morsi and 130 other defendants with escaping from Wadi el-Natrun Prison, located north of Cairo, in January 2011, during the uprising that led to the ouster of the country’s former dictator Hosni Mubarak.

In addition to the abovementioned charge, the case involved charges of damaging and setting fire to prison buildings, murder, attempted murder, looting prison weapons depots and releasing prisoners.

Earlier on Tuesday, the same court sentenced Morsi to life in prison on charges related to involvement in espionage activities. The life sentence in Egypt is 25 years in jail.

Mohammed Badie, another senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood, has also been sentenced to death. He, too, had received a life sentence for spying.

Other people sentenced to death include Khairat el-Shater, Mohamed el-Beltagy and Ahmed Abdelaty, all having played a leading role in the 2011 revolution. Death sentences were also handed to more than a dozen defendants in absentia, including the influential Muslim cleric Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi, who is currently in Qatar.

Morsi became Egypt’s first democratically-elected president in 2012 but was ousted in July 2013 in a military coup led by then head of the armed forces and current President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

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