A life sentence given to Egypt’s ousted President Mohamed Morsi has been upheld, a move that apparently shows the government in Cairo has no intention of easing a crackdown on the followers of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.
Egypt’s al-Ahram newspaper said on its online edition posted on Saturday that the Egyptian Court of Cassation had confirmed the sentence over a charge of espionage for Qatar.
The court also upheld three death sentences handed down to suspects in the case, the paper said, adding that three others, who are still at large, could appeal similar sentences they had been given.
The life sentence, 25 years in Egypt, is now final for Morsi while the Court of Cassation canceled another 15-year prison sentence handed down to him.
Morsi was convicted of espionage for Qatar in 2016 with prosecutors claiming that he had collaborated with secretaries and Muslim Brotherhood figures to leak classified documents to the government in Doha when he was in office. Morsi’s chief of staff at the time, Ahmed Abdel-Ati, is also involved in the case. The two have denied the allegations.
The verdict comes amid deteriorating relations between Egypt and Qatar. Pursuing a call by Saudi Arabia, Cairo cut diplomatic ties to Doha over the emirate’s alleged support for terrorism. Qatar is also an ardent supporter of the Brotherhood, the most popular political party in Egypt and the oldest in the Arab world, from which Morsi and many other Egyptian politicians have hailed.
Morsi served as Egypt’s first democratically-elected president after the fall of former dictator Hosni Mubarak in 2011. He was removed from office in a coup led by former head of the armed forces and current President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Since Morsi’s ouster, tens of thousands of Brotherhood members have been arrested and prosecuted while senior party leaders face death or life sentences.
The crackdown on the Brotherhood has sparked widespread outrage around the world as rights campaigners and governments keep criticizing the Sisi administration for the collective imprisonment of the party members.
The post-Morsi crackdown has also affected many with alleged links to outlawed militant groups.
In a Saturday ruling, a court handed down death sentences to seven people over links to the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group. The convicts, members of the Daesh branch in neighboring Libya, can appeal the sentences as they should go to a process of review by the Grand Mufti, Egypt’s top theological authority, until November 25.
By Afriafrique and agencies