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Egypt court jails Morsi for 20 years over protester deaths

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Egypt's ousted President Mohamed Morsi sits behind the defendants’ cage during a trial at the police academy court in Cairo on November 5, 2014. ©AFP

An Egyptian court has sentenced ousted President Mohamed Morsi to 20 years in prison over protester deaths in 2012.

The verdict, the first ruling against the North African country’s first elected president, was issued by the Cairo Criminal Court on Tuesday as Morsi and other defendants, mostly leaders from the banned Muslim Brotherhood movement, stood trial in a courtroom at Egypt's national police academy.

The case stems from the deaths and torture of demonstrators outside Morsi’s presidential palace in December 2012.

The judge presiding over the case, Ahmed Youssef, acquitted the former president of murder charges and said the sentence was linked to the "show of force" and unlawful detention associated with the case.

Twelve Muslim Brotherhood leaders and supporters, including Mohammed el-Beltagy and Essam el-Erian, also received the same sentence as Morsi.

Morsi faces several other trials.

In December 2012, violent clashes erupted between Morsi’s supporters and opponents in the capital, Cairo, after he issued a controversial constitutional declaration in November of the same year to expand his powers.

On December 5, 2012, at least five people were killed in the clashes between backers and opponents of Morsi in the capital. 

Hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood members and supporters have faced mass trials following the military toppling of Morsi.

Egyptian defendants sit behind bars during their trial at a police institute in the outskirts of Cairo on April 19, 2015. ©AFP

On Monday, a criminal court handed down death sentences to 22 supporters of Morsi in connection with storming a police station in a district outside Cairo nearly two years ago.

The defendants were tried on charges of killing a police officer, attempted murder, torching public property, possessing weapons, and joining the Brotherhood movement.

A minor involved in the case was also sentenced to 10 years.

In July 2013, Morsi, the country’s first democratically-elected president, was ousted in a military coup led by the former head of the armed forces and the current President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

The Egyptian government has been cracking down on any opposition since Morsi was ousted. 


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