Former Egyptian President Sentenced to Life, Six Co-defendants Get Death

A Cairo court on Saturday sentenced former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi to a total of 40 years in prison for leaking state secrets to Qatar.

Morsi was sentenced to 25 years in jail for espionage and other 15 years for a misdemeanor. Morsi’s daughter, Karima, has also received a 15-year prison sentence on the same charge.

Morsi himself alongwith Badie and 100 other leaders were also sentenced to death in June past year for escaping from prison in 2011.

After finishing the bureaucratic step of seeking advice from Egypt’s grand mufti, the religious interpreter of Islamic law, the Cairo court on Saturday reaffirmed the initial verdict it made on May 7.

They were sentenced in absentia along with Asmaa al-Khatib, who worked for the Rassd media network that was linked to Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood.

Steven Ellis, the director of advocacy and communications at International Press Institute told Al Jazeera that he was “disappointed” with the verdict but not entirely surprised “given the climate towards press freedom in Egypt”.

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Reprieve are among international organisations who have condemned the trials, while the Committee to Protect Journalists lists Egypt as one of the most risky places for reporters to work.

Egyptian-born Canadian Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian Baher Mohamed were pardoned past year by President Abdel Fattah al Sisi, while Australian reporter Peter Greste was deported.

In a statement on Qatar’s state news agency late Saturday, the Foreign Ministry said the verdicts lacked a “proper sense of justice” and did not help in consolidating ties between the two countries.

In one another case he has been sentenced to death. “They want to threaten all journalists inside and outside of Egypt”.

Those sentences are on top of more prison time and a death sentence Morsi received for various crimes, including those against the state.

Egypt has long accused Qatar and Al Jazeera of being sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Egypt’s relationship with Qatar has been less than cordial over the years.

Authorities arrested Egyptian-born Canadian Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian Baher Mohamed in December 2013 after they allegedly aired “false news”. “This was a sham case that was politically motivated”, he said. They were tried in absentia.

Morsy was elected President in June 2012 in the country’s first free elections after dictator Hosni Mubarak was overthrown.

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