Cairo: Egypt’s toppled Islamist President Mohamed Morsi was on Saturday sentenced to life imprisonment by a court for passing state secrets to Qatar.
The court also upheld death sentences given to six Muslim Brotherhood members in the same case and awarded life imprisonment (25 years in prison) to two others. Morsi was given an additional 15 years in prison in the same case, increasing his jail term to 40 years.
Last month, the court ordered that the case documents of the six defendants, excluding Morsi, be referred to the Grand Mufti, who according to the Egyptian law must review all death sentences. However, his decision is not binding. The six defendants include Ahmed Abdo Ali Afifi, a documentary film producer (who is in jail), Asmaa el-Khateeb reporter in Rassd news network (RNN) (sentenced in absentia), Alaa Omar Mohammed, a Jordanian news producer in Al-Jazeera (sentenced in absentia), and the news editor Ibrahim Mohammed Hilal in Al-Jazeera (sentenced in absentia). The verdict is not final and can be appealed.
Morsi as well as other defendants have been convicted for leaking classified documents to Qatar and selling them to Al-Jazeera channel. The classified documents allegedly include information on general and military intelligence, the armed forces, its armaments and the state’s policy secrets. Other charges include leading and joining the outlawed group, the Muslim Brotherhood, that aims at changing the country’s regime by force, and attacking army and police posts and public property.
Muslim Brotherhood’s Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie and 35 other members of the proscribed Islamist group were last month sentenced to life for committing violent acts after the ouster of country’s first democratically elected President in 2013. Badie and Morsi were also sentenced to life in prison in the espionage case. Their sentences are currently in appeal.
Morsi himself alongwith Badie and 100 other leaders were also sentenced to death in June last year for escaping from prison in 2011. However, an Egyptian court later quashed the death sentence against Badie. Hundreds of other Muslim Brotherhood members were also sentenced for life in various cases.
The Egyptian government has been cracking down on the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters since the ouster of Morsi. The Muslim Brotherhood was designated as a terrorist group in November 2013 by the government.