CAIRO, May 16 (PNA/Xinhua) — An Egyptian court sentenced Saturday ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi to death over 2011 jailbreak charges.
The Cairo Criminal Court issued preliminary death sentences against Morsi and 105 other defendants in the case publicly known as the “Wadi al-Natron jailbreak.”
The verdict was referred to the Grand Mufti, the country’s highest Islamic official whose opinion is usually considered a formality.
The final verdict, which still can be appealed, will be issued on June 2.
Morsi is accused of escaping prison with the assistance of domestic and foreign militants during the Jan. 25 uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
Some 130 other defendants affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, Palestinian Hamas movement and the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah group face trial in the same case.
They are accused of breaking into prisons, and kidnapping and killing of police officers.
Saturday’s verdict is the second against Morsi who was sentenced last month by the same court to 20 years in jail over ordering the arrest and torture of protesters in 2012.
At the courtroom of the Cairo Criminal Court, Morsi, together with other defendants, stood inside a glass cage wearing an ordinary prison suit.
Meanwhile, the court sentenced to death 16 Muslim Brotherhood leaders, including the group’s deputy chief Khairat al-Shater, over espionage charges.
The court has decided to send the papers of the case to the Grand Mufti for his religious opinion.
The defendants were accused of conspiring with foreign powers, including Hamas movement, Hezbollah group and Iran’s National Guard, to destabilize Egypt.
Morsi faced charges in the espionage case, but he was not among the defendants who received the capital punishment today.
Morsi was ousted by the army in July 2013 after mass protests against his one-year rule. Since then, Morsi faced a number of charges, including inciting violence, conspiring with foreign powers, killing protesters, some of which carry the death penalty.
Egyptian authorities designated the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization last year.
A number of its leaders, including its Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie, were sentenced to death. However, the sentences have not been carried out and can be appealed. (PNA/Xinhua)