Cairo: Egypt's ousted Islamist President Mohamad Morsi was yesterday sentenced to life imprisonment by a court in an espionage trial in which six co-defendants were handed death penalties for leaking state secrets on military intelligence to Qatar and a Doha-based TV network.
Egypt's ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi gestures from behind the defendant’s bars during his trial on espionage charges at a court in Cairo. Pic/AFP
The Cairo Criminal Court upheld the death sentences of the six Muslim Brotherhood members and awarded life imprisonment to two others.
Life in prison in Egypt is 25 years. But Morsi, who received life in prison for leading an unlawful group, was given an additional 15 years for stealing documents related to national security, increasing his jail term to 40 years.
The six co-defendants were Ahmed Abdo Ali Afifi, a documentary film producer (who is in jail), Asmaa el-Khateeb, a reporter with Rasd News Network which is widely suspected of links to Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood (sentenced in absentia). Two more included Al-Jazeera employees — news producer Alaa Omar Mohammed and news editor Ibrahim Mohammed Hilal (both sentenced in absentia).
Qatar was the main backer of Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood during his term in power between 2012 and July 2013, when the military overthrew and detained him.
Today's verdicts are not final and can be appealed. The documents allegedly include information on general and military intelligence, the armed forces, its armaments and state policy secrets. Other charges include leading and joining the outlawed Brotherhood, that aims at changing Egypt's regime by force, and attacking army and police posts and public properties.
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.