Egypt’s first democratically-elected president Mohammed Morsi, 63, has been sentenced to life imprisonment having been found guilty of espionage. Morsi was ousted by the army in a coup in July 2013 following widespread protests against his divisive rule.
The Egyptian court found Morsi, as well as the Muslim Brotherhood’s supreme guide, Mohamed Badie and 15 other leaders guilty of the offence and committed them to life in prison.
Morsi is among a total of 36 defendants who were charged with conspiring with foreign organizations, including Palestinian Islamist group Hamas and Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, to destabilise Egypt’s security by executing terrorist operations in the country.
Seventeen other defendants were sentenced to death, including leaders Khayrat el-Shater, Mohamed el-Beltagy and Ahmed Abdel Aty; 15 of the 17 defendants were sentenced in absentia while another three were sentenced to seven years in the same case.
The defendants were also accused of funding terrorism and jeopardizing national security.
Last month, the court sentenced Morsi, Badie and over 100 other Islamists to death in two separate cases – espionage and a mass jail break during the 2011 Egyptian Revolution that toppled long-time dictator Hosni Mubarak.
However, all the sentences in the two cases were referred to the Grand Mufti, who according to Egyptian law, must review all the death sentences though his decision is not binding.
In April, Morsi was also sentenced to 20 years in prison for inciting violence and ordering the arrest and torture of demonstrators during clashes in 2012 while he was president. [myad]