Tuesday, June 16, 2015
Cairo court confirms death sentences Muslim Brotherhood leaders
Leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in better days. From left Saad el-Katatny, Mohammed Rashed el-Bayoumi, Mohammed Morsi and Essam el-Erian.
Cairo Criminal Court upheld a death sentence against former President Mohamed Morsi and five others on Tuesday for a mass prison break in 2011. The five others are Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie, Saad al-Katatny, Essam al-Erian, Mohamed Rashad Bayoumi and Mohie Hamed. Apart from tht the ourt handed 20 life sentences to prominent Brotherhood leaders, including Safwat Hegazy, Sobhi Saleh, Mohamed al-Beltagy and Saad al-Hosseini. Sixteen defendants were sentenced to two years, 94 death sentences were upheld in absentia, eight defendants were handed two years in absentia, and one was given three years in absentia.
The death sentences were originally issued in May, and according to state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper can still be appealed.
Morsi and 16 others were also sentenced to life in prison earlier on Tuesday for espionage. A life sentence under Egyptian law is 25 years.
The court also sentenced prominent Muslim Brotherhood leaders Khairat al-Shater, Mohamed al-Beltagy and Ahmed Abdel-Aty to death by hanging, along with 13 others in absentia. Two other defendants were given seven-year prison sentences.
After being sentenced to death, Shater, who was dressed in blue to signify his previous jail sentence, put on a red cap.
Morsi and his co-defendants were charged with conspiring against Egypt with foreign powers, including Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran's Revolutionary Guard.
Before both verdicts, the judge gave a long preamble,detailing the wrongdoings of the Muslim Brotherhood since its founding in 1928 and outlining his version of events during the 2011 revolution, including several prison breaks. The defendants stood silently during the speech, holding up the four-fingered Rabea salute in reference to the bloody dispersals of the Rabea al-Adaweya and Al-Nahda pro-Morsi sit-ins in August 2013.
On May 16, Cairo Criminal Court referred the papers of former President Mohamed Morsi and several leading Brotherhood figures to the Grand Mufti for review in both cases, relating to the 2011 prison escapes and espionage.The prison break case relates to the 2011 escape from Wadi Natroun Prison, which occurred in the security vacuum following the popular uprising against former President Hosni Mubarak. The defendants were charged with storming prisons, assisting the escape of convicts and looting of weapons, in addition to murder and attempted murder of police officers, among other charges.