Egypt court overturns ex-president Mohamed Morsi's life sentence

November 22, 2016 12:00 pm

Deposed Egyptian President listens to his verdict behind bars at a court on the outskirts of Cair, on June 16, 2015. (Photo by Reuters)

An Egyptian appeals court has overturned one of two life sentences issued against ousted President Mohamed Morsi on espionage charges and ordered a retrial. 
The Court of Cassation, ’s highest judicial authority, issued the ruling on Tuesday, Morsi’s lawyer Abdel Moneim Abdel Maqsoud and judicial sources confirmed. 
The court also ordered the retrial of 21 other senior officials of Morsi’s disbanded Muslim Brotherhood movement and supporters who were convicted in the same case last year.
The ruling overturned all convictions in the case including life sentences against Mohamed Badie, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, and 15 others.
Senior Brotherhood officials Kheirat al-Shater and Mohamed al-Beltagi as well as Morsi aide Ahmed Abdelatti who had originally been handed down death sentences also saw their convictions dropped on Tuesday.
Last week, the same court annulled a death sentence issued against Morsi on charges of participating in prison breaks and violence against policemen during the 2011 uprising which toppled former dictator Hosni Mubarak.
From next Monday, the court will begin reviewing a second life sentence issued against Morsi in a separate trial on the charge of spying for Qatar and leaking “classified documents” containing secrets on “national security.”
Morsi has so far received one final verdict after the same court upheld in October a 20-year prison sentence against him on charges of inciting violence near the presidential palace in Cairo during the 2012 protests.
The Egyptian government has been cracking down on opposition since Morsi was ousted in a military coup led by former army chief and current President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in July 2013.
Rights groups say the army’s crackdown on the supporters of Morsi has led to the deaths of over 1,400 people and arrest of 22,000 others, including some 200 people who have been sentenced to death in mass trials.
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