An Egyptian top court yesterday Saturday, September 16 upheld the life sentence earlier handed down to Egypt’s former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi on charges arising from a trial over engaging in espionage activities for Qatar, his lawyer and a judicial official said.
The court of cassation upheld the life sentences which was first passed in June 2016 on a charge of leading an illegal group.It, however, threw out a 15-year sentence on charges of having stolen secret documents, Abdel Moneim Abdel Maqsud, his lawyer told AFP.
Life sentence in Egypt equals 25 years in prison, and the rulings cannot be appealed.
Mohamed Morsi, who was the first democratically elected president in Egypt, was overthrown in July 2013 by the military following several protests against his one-year rule.
The Egyptian court also upheld death sentences for Ahmed Ali Abdo, documentary producer, Mohamed Adel Kilani, EgyptAir cabin crew member and Ahmed Ismail Thabet, a university teaching assistant, as well as a life term plus 15 years for two others, the court official said.
The trial was based on accusations that the defendants had leaked state secrets to Qatar, an ally of Morsi’s Islamist government that has denounced his overthrow.
Qatar is currently entangled in a crisis with Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia which are boycotting her for its support for the Brotherhood, amongst other accusations, has denied the charges.
Mohamed Morsi came to power after the uprising in 2011 uprising that saw Hosni Mubarak toppled, was elected in 2012 and ruled for just one year before he was overthrown.
Morsi’s one-year rule as President of Egypt was highly divisive and millions had taken to the streets requesting his resignation before the army took over and detained him.
He had also gotten a separate 20-year sentence in prison over the deadly clashes between security forces and protesters in front of his palace in December 2012. In another trial, a court overturned a death sentence he received over violence and prison breaks during the 2011 revolt, pending a retrial of the case.
After Morsi was overthrown, there was a police crackdown which saw hundreds of protesters who supported him being killed.
Mohamed Morsi who narrowly won Egypt’s first democratic elections in 2012 was accused of not representing all Egyptians.