Before announcing the verdict in the espionage trial against former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi on Saturday, the judge gave a long speech. In it, he indicated that he had no shred of doubt that the defendants were guilty.
CCTV’s Adel El Mahrouky reports from Cairo.
Former Egyptian President Morsi spared death penalty, gets 40 yearsBefore announcing the verdict in the espionage trial against former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi on Saturday, the judge gave a long speech. In it, he indicated that he had no shred of doubt that the defendants were guilty. CCTV's Adel El Mahrouky reports from Cairo.
“They illegally acquired secret defense documents from Intelligence Service, the military intelligence, Armed Forces and National Security Bureau,” said Judge Mohamed Sherin Fahmy. “Their intent is clear by sending it to a foreign country, therefore they intend to harm this nation.”
The judge sentenced six people, including two Al-Jazeera employees, to death for allegedly passing documents related to national security to Qatar and the Doha-based TV network during Morsi’s rule. Morsi was spared and he and two of his aides were sentenced to 25 years in prison for membership in the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood group. They were acquitted of espionage, a capital offense.
Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected leader, and his secretary, Amin el-Sirafy, each received an additional 15-year sentence for leaking official documents. El-Sirafy’s daughter, Karima, was also sentenced to 15 years on the same charge.
The judge had earlier consulted the government’s highest Islamic cleric on the death penalty for the other defendants, who said he was making the right decision. The six are sentenced to be hanged.
The lawyer for the defense, Abdel Moniem Abdel Maqsoud said that they will appeal. All of Saturday’s verdicts can be appealed. Of the case’s 11 defendants, seven, including Morsi, are in custody.
“We have 30 days within which the court will publish its reasons behind the verdict,” he said. “We will study this document and prepare to file an appeal within 60 days from that. I think the verdicts for Morsi and Dr, Abdel Aaty will be canceled and an appeal is easy to expected.”
This is the fourth verdict for Morsi, he still has a fifth case pending. His total jail sentence is now up to 85 years in prison, including a previous death penalty sentence.
Morsi was ousted by the military in July 2013. The Brotherhood was banned and declared a terrorist organization after his ouster. Khalid Radwan, a producer at a Brotherhood-linked TV channel, received a 15-year prison sentence.
Amnesty International called for the death sentences to be immediately thrown out and for the “ludicrous charges against the journalists to be dropped.”
The two Al-Jazeera employees — identified by the judge as news producer Alaa Omar Mohammed and news editor Ibrahim Mohammed Hilal — were sentenced to death in absentia along with Asmaa al-Khateib, who worked for Rasd, a media network widely suspected of links to Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood.
Story by CCTV America and the Associated Press.