Two other defendants, Gamal Saber and Abdel Hakeem Ismail, were sentenced to 10 years in maximum security prison. It was he first verdict issued against Morsi, who is standing trial in four other cases.
The case concerned clashes which erupted in December 2012 at the Ettihadiya Presidnetial Palace between protesters opposing Morsi's constitutional declaration, in which he amassed exclusive powers, effectively making his decisions immune from judicial oversight. During the clashes ten people were killed and many injured, both supporters and opponents of the president.
Investigations proved that Essam al-Erian, Mohamed al-Beltagy and Wagdy Ghoneim publicly called for the forced dispersal of a sit-in that took place in front of the presidential palace. The defendants and their allies were also accused of attacking peaceful protesters, including journalist Husseini Abu Deif — who was shot in the head and holding hostages inside the palace.
During the trial photos and video were shown that substantiated claims of torture and assault at the hands of alleged Morsi supporters and the use of firearms when they were sheltering behind rows of riot-police.
Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights lawyer Hoda Nasrallah, whose client is political activist Ola Shahba — one of those physically and sexually assaulted near the presidential palace — told Mada Masr, "We called for the maximum penalty, while clarifying that we oppose the death sentence on principle.” She clarified, “It is clear that there is a deluge of death sentences, along with the imposition of exaggerated penalties upon defendants affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. However, the fact remains that the Muslim Brotherhood — during the course of the year in which they assumed power — committed crimes which necessitate legal prosecution,” Nasrallah added.
Besides the Ettehadiya clashes Morsi and other senior leaders of the Brotherhood stand trial in two more important cases: the prison escapes during the January 25 revolution, and an espionage case in which Morsi and others are accused of aiding groups including the Palestinian Hamas and endangering the country’s national security.