Mohamed Morsi sentenced to death by Egyptian court

Former Egytptian president Mohamed Morsi

A Cairo court has sentenced the ousted President Mohamed Morsi to death earlier today on charges of “conspiring with foreign militants” to break out of prison during the Egyptian revolution four years ago.

The verdict, which can be appealed, marks a blow to the pro-democracy uprisings that saw thousands of Egyptians rise up against an increasingly corrupt and oppressive police state led by Hosni Mubarak.

Security forces had arrested Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, during the 18-day revolution, and he escaped from prison several days later.

He was then elected as Egypt’s president in the country’s first free and fair democratic elections, before the military ousted the Brotherhood leader in via a coup.

But today’s verdict appeared to criminalise the events of the 2011 revolution, alleging that Morsi and other “Islamists” conspired with Hamas and Hezbollah operatives to escape imprisonment and planned a violent revolt against the state.

More than 100 other defendants, most of whom were tried in absentia, were also sentenced to death on the same charges, including the Brotherhood’s supreme spiritual lead, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi who is based in Qatar.

In a separate case, 16 defendants were given the death penalty for allegedly leaking state secrets to Iran while Morsi was president. The presiding judge did not sentence Morsi in that case, postponing a final verdict until next month.

Sign up for regular updates straight to your inbox

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay updated on the latest news and updates from around the Muslim world!

“Today will be remembered as one of the darkest days in Egypt’s history”, Amr Darrag, a senior Brotherhood official and former member of Morsi’s cabinet, said in an e-mail. Darrag is living in exile in Turkey.

Saturday’s judgement was based on “lies, hearsay and paranoid conspiracy theories,” the statement said. It is “another deeply disturbing attempt to permanently erase democracy in Egypt,” he added.

In recent months, Egyptian courts have sentenced hundreds of Brotherhood members and activists to death in what human rights groups have said defies international standards for fair trials.

The court ruling found Morsi guilty of a supposed grand conspiracy that included working with Iranian operatives, Hamas militants from Gaza and Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement to collapse the Egyptian state and propel the Muslim Brotherhood to power.

The indictment alleged that Muslim Brotherhood operatives were trained by Hezbollah and Iran inside Gaza, and later used their expertise to stage the prison break north Cairo.

Morsi and his co-defendants were also accused of “looting poultry and livestock” from prison grounds. Thousands of prisoners across the country escaped during the uprising four years ago, after Egyptian security forces withdrew from the streets in the face of a popular revolt.

Because the court’s proceedings were closed to the media, it is unclear what evidence prosecutor’s presented to prove such a conspiracy. Included on a list of defendants were several Hamas operatives who had been jailed in Israel or were dead at the time.

Only 27 defendants appeared in court today. Morsi arrived smiling and wearing a blue prison uniform.

As the verdict was read, Morsi and his co-defendants chanted against the military.

Add your comments below

Previous articleThousands of Muslims come out for Global Messenger Day
Next articleThe Tories Counter Extremism Bill amounts to religious persecution of Muslims