Egypt court upholds life sentence for former president

Court in Egypt upholds life sentence against Mohammed Morsi on charges of spying for Qatar.

Elad Benari ,

Mohammed Morsi
Mohammed Morsi

A court in Egypt on Saturday upheld a life sentence against the country’s former Islamist president Mohammed Morsi on charges stemming from a trial over spying for Qatar, a judicial official and his lawyer said.

The court of cassation upheld a life sentence first passed in June 2016 on the charge of leading an illegal group but threw out a 15-year sentence on the charge of having stolen secret documents, his lawyer Abdel Moneim Abdel Maqsud told the AFP news agency.

A life sentence in Egypt amounts to 25 years in prison. The court's rulings cannot be appealed.

Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected president, was overthrown by the military in July of 2013 following mass protests against his rule.

In November of 2016, Egypt's court of cassation overturned a life sentence against the Islamist former President in a case that revolves around accusations of espionage with Hamas.

A week earlier the court overturned a death sentence against Morsi in a case in which he and five other leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood were sentenced for their roles in organizing a mass prison break in 2011.

In 2012, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison after being convicted of inciting the killing of protesters, in an incident that saw 10 people gunned down outside the presidential palace in December 2012.

On Saturday, the court also upheld death sentences for documentary producer Ahmed Ali Abdo, EgyptAir cabin crew member Mohamed Adel Kilani and university teaching assistant Ahmed Ismail Thabet, as well as a life term and 15 years for two others, an official told AFP.

The trial hinged on accusations that the defendants had passed on state secrets to Qatar, an ally of Morsi's Islamist government that has denounced his overthrow.

Qatar has denied the charges.