Egypt’s ousted President Mohammed Morsi has been sentenced to death on charges of breaking out of prison during the 2011 “Arab Spring” uprising that toppled strongman Hosni Mubarak.
The sentence, handed down by an Egyptian court today, was broadcast on state television and comes as Morsi is already serving a 20-year term on charges relating to the killing of protesters in Cairo in 2012.
Morsi, who was deposed in 2013, led the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood. He appeared in court with 27 other defendants. The BBC says “Morsi’s supporters from his Muslim Brotherhood movement have described the charges against him as ‘farcical.’ ”
“The court’s preliminary verdict 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.
“A final verdict based his opinion will be delivered June 2.”
As The Washington Post notes: “The death sentence marks a stunning turnaround for Egypt’s first freely elected president, who was later deposed in a military coup led by then-defense minister and the country’s current leader, Abdel Fattah al-Sissi.”