Egypt Court Postpones Final Ruling on Morsi's Death Sentence

Youssra El-Sharkawy/Cairo
Egypt Court Postpones Final Ruling on Morsi's Death Sentence

An Egyptian court today adjourned to June 16 its final verdict on ex-president Mohamed Morsi, who along with top Muslim Brotherhood leaders, was earlier handed down a death sentence in connection with espionage and a mass jail break during the 2011 uprising.

Last month, the court sentenced the deposed president Morsi, Muslim Brotherhood supreme guide Mohamed Badie and over 100 Islamists to death in two separate cases - espionage and escaping from prison.

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.

Judge Shaaban el-Shami said the court needs more time to study the Mufti's opinion as it had only received it early today. It adjourned the final verdict for June 16.

Separately, Morsi and several secular figures went on trial on May 23 for "insulting the judiciary".

Morsi, 63, and Badie, 71, were among 106 Muslim Brotherhood leaders sentenced to death on charges of escaping from prison in 2011 and among 130 co-defendants, including Brotherhood leaders Mohamed Saad El-Katatni, Essam El-Erian, Mohamed El-Beltagy, and Safwat Hegazy.

They were also charged with damaging and setting fire to prison buildings, murder and attempted murder, and looting prison weapons depots while allowing prisoners to break out of jails during the January 2011 revolution.

In the espionage case, 16 Muslim Brotherhood leaders, including Khyrat el-Shater, the deputy of the Muslim Brotherhood supreme guide, were sentenced to death.

Morsi is also an accused in the espionage case along with 35 others.

In the espionage case, the Islamists are charged with conspiring with foreign powers - including the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, Lebanon's Hizbollah and Iran's Revolutionary Guard - to destabilise Egypt. The defendants are also accused of funding terrorism and disclosing national security.

In April, Morsi was sentenced to 20 years in prison for inciting violence and ordering the arrest and torture of demonstrators during 2012 clashes while he was the president.

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