Egypt court suggests death for 6 codefendants, but not Morsi

2016-05-07 20:00
Mohammed Morsi speaking from the defendant's cage as he stands with co-defendants in a makeshift courtroom during a trial hearing in Cairo, Egypt. (AP Photo/Egyptian Interior Ministry)

Mohammed Morsi speaking from the defendant's cage as he stands with co-defendants in a makeshift courtroom during a trial hearing in Cairo, Egypt. (AP Photo/Egyptian Interior Ministry)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cairo - An Egyptian court recommended death sentences on Saturday for six codefendants of Mohammed Morsi, but not for the ousted Islamist president himself in their trial on espionage charges.

The presiding judge in the trial asked the mufti - the country's official interpreter of Islamic law - to consider death sentences for the six codefendants, saying the court would convene again on June 18 after the mufti's response.

It will then pronounce its verdict and sentence for the remaining five defendants, including Morsi, on charges of having supplied Qatar with classified documents.

Egyptian law requires the mufti to sign off on death sentences. His opinion is not binding but is usually respected by courts.

Three of the defendants sentenced to death were tried in absentia and identified by the prosecution as journalists who helped relay the documents to Qatar.

Qatar was a main backer of Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood movement while he was in power between 2012 and July 2013, when the military overthrew and detained him.

He has already received sentences in three separate trials.

He has been sentenced to death for his alleged role in prison breaks and attacks on police stations during the 2011 uprising that overthrew veteran strongman Hosni Mubarak.

Prison escape

Morsi was one of the leaders of the Brotherhood who had been jailed during the 18-day uprising, escaping with thousands of inmates who broke out of prison.

He was also sentenced to life in prison for espionage on behalf of Iran and militant groups Hezbollah and Hamas, and received a 20 year term for deadly clashes outside the presidential palace in 2012 between his supporters and opponents.

The Qatar espionage case stems from allegations that aides passed on classified state secrets to Doha using intermediaries.

The six facing a death sentence include Ibrahim Mohamed Hilal, whom the prosecution had identified as a senior editor with the Qatar-based channel Al-Jazeera.

He is not in Egypt and was tried in absentia.

An Al-Jazeera official said he is "an adviser" to the channel's chairperson.

Journalists jailed

Another, also tried in absentia, is Jordanian citizen Alaa Omar Mohamed Sablan, identified by the prosecution as an Al-Jazeera producer.

Asmaa Mohamed al-Khatib, identified as a reporter with the pro-Brotherhood Rassd news outlet, was also sentenced to death in absentia.

They were alleged to have assisted in relaying the classified material to Doha.

Egypt had cracked down on Al-Jazeera and imprisoned three of its journalists in Cairo, including Australian Peter Greste and Canadian Mohamed Fahmy, before releasing them by presidential decree.

The defendants will be able to appeal the rulings before the court of cassation, and those tried in absentia can win a retrial if they hand themselves in.

Egyptian courts have sentenced hundreds of Morsi supporters to death since his overthrow, but many have appealed and won new trials.

A police crackdown on his supporters has killed hundreds of protesters, while a jihadist insurgency has killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers.

Read more on:    mohammed morsi  |  egypt  |  north africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.