Deposed Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi Sentenced to Death

 morsi-wsj

Saturday’s decision is latest in a series of mass trials that have led to death penalty verdicts against the leadership and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood

CAIRO— Tamer El-Ghobashy and Dahlia Kholaif write: The decision is the harshest of multiple sentences given to Mr. Morsi and underscores the breadth of current President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi’s crackdown on his chief political opponents, the Muslim Brotherhood.

The court’s preliminary verdict Saturday is subject to review by the Grand Mufti, Egypt’s highest religious authority, whose opinion isn’t legally binding but is traditionally adopted by the court.

“The death penalty has become the favorite tool for the Egyptian authorities to purge the political opposition.”

— Amnesty International

A final verdict based his opinion will be delivered June 2 but will be open to appeals, which can take years in Egypt’s clogged judicial system.

Mr. Morsi has already been sentenced to 20 years in prison last month in a separate case in which he was found guilty of fomenting violence during a series of protests in 2012 that dogged his year in office.

The former Egyptian president was among 106 members and leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood sentenced to death on Saturday, including the group’s spiritual guide Mohammed Badie and prominent Islamic scholar, Youssef al-Qaradawi, who is based in Qatar.

[Read the full text here, at WSJ]

The decision—broadcast on state television as Mr. Morsi and some of co-defendants smiled defiantly from inside the caged dock used to hold the accused—was received quietly in Egypt. However, authorities said it may have inspired a violent response in the restive Sinai Peninsula where security forces have struggled to contain a low-level Islamist insurgency.

Hours after the verdict was delivered, unknown gunmen attacked a vehicle carrying several judges and aides in the northern Sinai town of al-Arish, killing three judges, a driver, and wounding three others, according to Egypt’s state news agency.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the state news agency quotes unnamed security officials saying the attack may have been retaliation for the verdict against Mr. Morsi.

Saturday’s decision is latest in a series of mass trials that have led to death penalty verdicts against the leadership and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood. Human rights organizations have criticized the mass sentences, while some Western governments, including the U.S., have expressed concern over the apparent lack of due process.

If Saturday’s verdicts are confirmed, the entire top leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood will be facing either life in prison or execution stemming from trials that began under Mr. Sisi’s leadership. The sentences represent the most comprehensive crackdown of the group since the modern Egyptian state was founded….(read more)

WSJ

—Emre Peker in Istanbul contributed to this article.

Write to Tamer El-Ghobashy at tamer.el-ghobashy@wsj.com

 



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