Egypt’s Morsi to receive second verdict on Saturday

Egypt’s first democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi will receive second verdict on Saturday in his trial for ‘espionage’

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Egypt’s deposed president Mohamed Morsi is to receive a verdict in the trial for the alleged performance of “Espionage for Qatar and Hamas” along with 131 others, 101 of whom are not in Egypt and were therefore tried in absentia.

Morsi received a first verdict of guilty on April 20 in the Al Etihadia palace case, in which he was accused of killing ten protesters in December 2012. The deposed president is expected to serve the 20 year sentence he received in Borj Al Arab prison in Alexandria.

There are four expected scenarios for Saturday’s verdict, the harshest one would be the death penalty - which would mean Egypt executing a former president for the first time in its history?.

A second possibility is that Morsi could be found innocent of all charges against him, but even then he would not be released due to his sentence in the Al Etihadia case.

The third scenario is that Morsi could receive an additional sentence of 25 years in prison, according to Egyptian Law professor Ahmed Refaat, who says “It’s possible for the judge to postpone the verdict for as long as it takes him to re-evaluate the case as a whole,” which means Saturday may not be the end of the espionage trials.

This series of trials have come nearly three years after Egypt’s first free presidential elections in 2012. Muslim Brotherhood member, Freedom and Justice party leader and Cairo University engineering professor Mohamed Morsi Al Ayyat won with 52 percent, up against former minister of aviation during Mubarak’s rule, Ahmed Shafik. 

Back in 2012, “revolutionaries” and Muslim Brotherhood members united in unprecedented protests, demanding what was meant to be a prosperous democratic future for Egypt.

Many celebrated following Morsi’s victory, Many were also doubtful and skeptical and as the government’s policies appeared to be inconsistent or weak expectations were not met, leading to calls for early presidential elections.

It wasn’t until July 2013, that Former army general Abdul Fattah Al Sisi - now president - overthrew Morsi in an unforeseen military coup.

Morsi had appointed Sisi as minister of defense and military production, and characterised him as “a revolutionary minister.” 

Following Morsi’s comments regarding the former army general, some people even suspected that Sisi could be an MB supporter or even a member.

In support of Morsi, and calling for his reinstatement, sit-in demonstrations began on June 28, 2013 in the Rabaa and Nahda squares in Cairo and ended brutally on August 13 of the same year resulted in the death of hundreds of civilian MB supporters.

Police and military forces dispersed the camps using excessive force.

Human Rights Watch call the Rabaa and Nahda demonstration dispersals one of the greatest crimes against humanity in modern history.

Morsi was then detained and set to face three major trials: the Al Etihadia palace case - which he received 20 years in prison for, a trial over allegations of espionage for Qatar, and a trial for a prison break in January 2011.

Back in prison again, Morsi’s supporters refused to acknowledge the courtroom, Morsi’s son, Osama Morsi previously said that the first verdict did not surprise him at all and that his father’s innocence would be proven sooner or later.

Recently in Cairo’s Prisons, where tens of MB leaders and hundreds of MB members are imprisoned, senior MB leader Farid Ismail died as a result of alleged medical negligence. Ismail was a former parliamentarian and was sentenced to seven years in prison for inducing riots after the coup. Ismail served only a few days of his sentence before he died.