Mohamed Morsi, 16 others get life in prison in Egypt espionage case

Cairo: An Egyptian court on Tuesday sentenced deposed president Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood's supreme guide Mohamed Badie and 15 other leaders to life in prison in an espionage case.

Morsi is among a total of 36 defendants who were charged with conspiring with foreign organisations, including Palestinian Islamist group Hamas and Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, to destabilise Egypt's security by executing terrorist operations in the country.

Seventeen other defendants were sentenced to death, including leaders Khayrat el-Shater, Mohamed el-Beltagy And Ahmed Abdel Aty. 15 of the 17 defendants were sentenced in absentia while another three were sentenced to seven years in the same case. The defendants were also accused of funding terrorism and jeopardising national security.

Morsi, 63, was Egypt's first democratically-elected president before he was ousted by the army in a coup in July, 2013 following widespread protests against his divisive rule. Last month, the court sentenced Morsi, Badie and over 100 other Islamists to death in two separate cases - espionage and a mass jail break during the 2011 Egyptian Revolution that toppled long-time dictator Hosni Mubarak.

However, all the sentences in the two cases were referred to the Grand Mufti, who according to Egyptian law must review all the death sentences though his decision is not binding. In April, Morsi was also sentenced to 20 years in prison for inciting violence and ordering the arrest and torture of demonstrators during clashes in 2012 while he was president.

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