CAIRO — An Egyptian court issued further blows Tuesday against former President Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood allies, sentencing the ousted leader to life in prison and handing death sentences to three others in connection with alleged contact with foreign groups.
The court also upheld a previous death sentence, issued in May, against Morsi and three others for a major jailbreak during the 2011 Arab Spring uprising against then President Hosni Mubarak
The court decisions mark the latest move by prosecutors to punish and discredit Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, whose Islamist-inspired government was ousted by military-led pressures in 2013.
A total of 17 life sentences were given to top Brotherhood officials, including the Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual guide Muslim Brotherhood Mohamed Badie.
Death sentences were issued for three other prominent figures of the Brotherhood, and several others in absentia.
The judge, Shabaan al-Shami, read prosecutors’ claims that the Brotherhood received military training in Gaza with the militant group Hamas and leaked state secrets to Iran, which made diplomatic outreach to Morsi’s government after decades of opposing Mubarak. No direct evidence was made public during the court proceedings.
Displaying the official backlash against the Muslim Brotherhood, the magistrate Shami called the June 2013 protests that toppled Morsi a “bright dawn after a long, black night.”
The Brotherhood emerged from repression under Mubarak to become the most organized and politically powerful faction in the wake of the Arab Spring. Morsi became Egypt’s first democratically elected president, but soon ran afoul with Egypt’s military and others that accused him of abuse of power.
Tuesday’s verdicts can be appealed. In Egypt, a life sentence is also described as a 25-year jail term.
Source: The Washinghton Post, Heba Habib and Brian Murphy, June 16, 2015
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