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To beat the clock on the expiration of its lethal injection drug supply, this past April, Arkansas tried to execute 8 men over 1 days. The stories told in frantic legal filings and clemency petitions revealed a deeply disturbing picture. Ledell Lee may have had an intellectual disability that rendered him constitutionally ineligible for the death penalty, but he had a spate of bad lawyers who failed to timely present evidence of this claim -…

Egypt: Mursi sentenced to 40 years in Qatar spy case

Cairo, Egypt
Cairo, Egypt
Court upholds death sentences against 6 other defendants for supplying Qatar with classified state documents under Mursi's rule

An Egyptian court on Saturday sentenced toppled Islamist president Mohammad Mursi to a total of 40 years in prison after convicting him of jeopardising national security by having passed classified state documents to Qatar when he was in power.

The Cairo Criminal Court sentenced Mursi to life in prison - a verdict equal to 25 years in Egypt - and 15 more years on 2 separate counts in the case.

The verdict is the latest in a series of sentences against Mursi who is already on death row.

2 ex-aides to Mursi were also given sentences of a total of 40 years in prison each in the same case.

The court confirmed initial death sentences it passed last month against 6 more defendants in the case after the verdicts had been ratified by the country's top Islamic legal official, the Grand Mufti.

"The accused deserve the penalty of death because they put the nation in danger," chief judge Mohammad Sherin quoted the mufti as saying in his advisory opinion to the court.

"They obtained state secrets with the intention of divulging them to a foreign country. Thus, they breached trust," the top Muslim cleric added, referring to the convicts.

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

All the rulings are subjected to appeal.

The leaked documents were pertaining to the Egyptian army, its armament and concentrations, the chief judge added in a statement broadcast live on Egyptian television.

The session was held at a makeshift courtroom in the Police Academy outside Cairo.

Qatar is a staunch backer of Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood. Ties have soured between Egypt and Qatar since the army's 2013 ouster of Mursi following massive street protests against his 1-year rule. Hearings in this case, dubbed "espionage with Qatar", opened in February 2015.

Mursi is already on death row after another court sentenced him to death last year in a separate case related to orchestrating a big prison escape during the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime president Hosni Mubarak. Mursi was also given a life sentence after being convicted of conspiring with foreign organisations for the jailbreak.

The "Qatar spying" trial is one of several in which Mursi is charged with multiple criminal charges. Mursi, a senior leader in the now-outlawed Brotherhood, is being tried in another case related to insulting the judiciary. The Islamist leader insists he remains the rightful president of Egypt.

Source: Gulf News, June 18, 2016


Two Al-Jazeera journalists given death penalty by Egyptian court

6 people, including 2 Al-Jazeera journalists, have been sentenced to death by an Egyptian court for allegedly passing documents relating to national security to Qatar and the Doha-based TV network during the rule of Mohammed Morsi.

The former Islamist president was also sentenced to 25 years in prison. He was ousted by the military in July 2013 and has already been sentenced to death in another case. Saturday's verdicts can be appealed.

The 2 Al-Jazeera employees - identified by the judge as news producer Alaa Omar Mohammed and news editor Ibrahim Mohammed Hilal - were sentenced in absentia along with Asmaa al-Khateib, who worked for Rasd, a media network widely suspected of links to Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood.

The Brotherhood was banned and declared a terrorist group after Morsi was ousted.

The 3 other defendants sentenced to death on Saturday are documentary producer Ahmed Afify, EgyptAir cabin crew member Mohammed Keilany and academic Ahmed Ismail.

Egypt's relations with Qatar have been fraught with tension since the overthrow of Morsi, who enjoyed the support of the tiny but wealthy Gulf state. Cairo also maintains that Al-Jazeera's news coverage of Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East is biased in favor of militant Islamic groups.

Last year, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi pardoned two imprisoned journalists from the Al-Jazeera English news network.

Mohamed Fahmy, an Egyptian-born Canadian, and Egyptian Baher Mohamed were arrested in December 2013. They were sentenced last year to 3 years in prison for airing what a court described as "false news" and coverage biased in favour of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The prosecution of the 2, along with Australian Peter Greste - deported in February last year - drew strong international condemnation.

Their long-running trial was entangled from the start with the wider political enmity between Egypt and Qatar.

Source: independent.ie, June 18, 2016

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