Egypt court overturns former president’s death sentence News
Egypt court overturns former president’s death sentence

[JURIST] Egypt’s Court of Cassation [official website, in Arabic] on Tuesday overturned the death sentences of former President Mohamed Morsi and five fellow leaders of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. During the Egyptian Revolution in 2011, Morsi allegedly conspired [BBC report] with Hamas and Hezbollah militants to break himself and fellow Brotherhood members out of Wadi Natroun prison. In 2015, following the ousting of Morsi and his political party, a court sentenced the former president and more than 100 others to death for organizing the prison break that resulted in the destruction of prison property and the murder and kidnapping of its guards. While most of the sentences were already upheld that same year, the Court of Cassation ordered retrials in the matter without a clearly stated reason. A Brotherhood lawyer stated that the decision was proper because Morsi’s conviction was “legally flawed.” Morsi still faces numerous other sentences including 20 years for violence against protestors [JURIST report], 40 years for leaking state secrets to Qatar, and a life sentence for involvement in a terrorist conspiracy. Morsi’s supporters have seen these recent court matters as part of President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi’s politically motivated agenda to wipe out the Brotherhood from Egypt.

Morsi was elected President of Egypt in 2012 following the Egyptian Revolution [JURIST backgrounder]. After only a year in power, Morsi was deposed by the military in July 2013 and criminal charges were first raised [JURIST reports] against him in September of the same year. In August 2014 the Supreme Administrative Court in Egypt banned [JURIST report] the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi’s political party, from the country. An Egyptian appeals court acquitted [JURIST report] Morsi’s former prime minister, Hisham Qandil, in July of that year. Morsi’s trial in Cairo was adjourned [JURIST report] in February 2014 after a brief appearance in court. Following the initial charges of “incitement to murder,” Morsi was also charged [JURIST report] with espionage and terrorism in December 2013.