EGYPT: DEATH SENTENCE AGAINST EX PRESIDENT MORSI UPHELD
|Ousted president Mohamed Morsi
June 16, 2015: An Egyptian court upheld a death sentence handed to former President Mohammed Morsi -- the harshest ruling yet against Egypt's first democratically-elected president since he was overthrown by the military in 2013.
The ousted leader and five senior members of the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood, including its Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie, were sentenced to death by hanging after being convicted on charges of breaking out of prison during the 2011 uprising against former president Hosni Mubarak that eventually brought Morsi to power. At that time, he and other Muslim Brotherhood leaders had been imprisoned by Mubarak's security forces.
The judge sentenced 100 others to death in the same case in absentia.
Morsi was also sentenced to life imprisonment by the same court for spying on behalf of foreign militant groups, including Hamas.
The judge said that the Muslim Brotherhood had "collaborated with Palestinian Hamas to infiltrate Egypt's eastern borders and attack prisons", state TV reported.
Sixteen other Muslim Brotherhood members were sentenced to death on charges of delivering secret documents abroad between 2005 and 2013.
Ever since Morsi was ousted by then-Defense Minister Abdelfattah Al-Sisi -- who has since gone on to become Egypt's strongman president -- his supporters and members of the Muslim Brotherhood have been subject to a heavy crackdown by security forces.
One of the most active and enthusiastic government institutions to participate in that crackdown has been the judiciary, known for its staunch anti-Islamist views and abhorrence of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Over the last two years, Egyptian judges have sentenced hundreds to death in mass trials that have been roundly criticized by human rights groups and the international community.
Inside the courtroom, Morsi appeared defiant, waving his hands aloft from within the courtroom defendants' cage once the verdict was read out.
His co-defendants' chants of "down with military rule" were just barely audible through the soundproof glass that encased their cage.
The sentences will be automatically appealed. (Sources: cbs news, bbc, 16/06/2015)