Court sentences ousted Egypt president to 20 years in prison

World Today

On Tuesday April 21, 2015, an Egyptian criminal court sentenced Morsi to 20 years in prison over the killing of protesters in 2012, the first verdict to be issued against the leader. The case stems from violence outside the presidential palace in December 2012. (AP Photo/Tarek el-Gabbas, File) On Tuesday April 21, 2015, an Egyptian criminal court sentenced Morsi to 20 years in prison over the killing of protesters in 2012, the first verdict to be issued against the leader. The case stems from violence outside the presidential palace in December 2012. (AP Photo/Tarek el-Gabbas, File)

An Egyptian criminal court on Tuesday sentenced ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi to 20 years in prison on charges linked to the killing of protesters in 2012, the first verdict to be issued against the country’s first freely elected leader.

The conviction, which can be appealed, and the muted Islamist reaction following it, underscore the dramatic downfall of Morsi and Egypt’s once-powerful Muslim Brotherhood group. Morsi escaped being sentenced to death in the case.

Morsi and the Brotherhood rose to power in the elections that followed the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak in a 2011 Arab Spring uprising. But the military overthrew Morsi in 2013 amid massive protests against his divisive yearlong rule, and now he and other top Brotherhood leaders are in prison facing a raft of charges, many of which carry the death penalty.

Tuesday’s verdict sparked no immediate street protests, reflecting the toll of a heavy security crackdown on any show of dissent — either by Islamists or other activists.

In addition to Morsi, 12 Brotherhood leaders and Islamist supporters, including Mohammed el-Beltagy and Essam el-Erian, were sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Youssef dropped murder charges and said the sentences were linked to a “show of force” and unlawful detention.

Story by the Associated Press.