After receiving three sentences to date - one of which is a death sentence - deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi is awaiting a verdict on a charge of espionage for the state of Qatar. The Cairo criminal court has postponed the trial until June 25. The date the verdict will be given is still unknown.
Morsi appeared in court for the first time wearing the red suit reserved for prisoners on death row, which makes him the first Egyptian president to wear such suit.
The latest verdict given to Morsi was a death sentence for taking part in a jail break from the Wadi el-Natroun prison during the January 2011 revolution.
The Muslim Brotherhood's grand leader Mohamed Badie was also sentenced to death for breaking out of jail after he had his previous death sentence for espionage lifted.
Seventeen other Muslim Brotherhood supporters were sentenced to death in the espionage case, including Khairat al-Shater and Mohamed al-Beltagy. Thirteen more defendants were additionally sentenced to death in absentia.
The defendants were accused of sending Muslim Brotherhood members to Gaza through tunnels to receive military training from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah, after which they allegedly planned to return home and execute “acts of terrorism and disruption of the lives of peaceful citizens.”
All the verdicts are vulnerable to court appeals, which could lead to reduced sentencing.
Several Muslim Brotherhood leaders and Hamas leaders currently reside in Qatar, along with renowned Muslim cleric Yusuf Qaradawi, who was also sentenced to death. Qaradawi is 88 years old.
The Egyptian government has blacklisted the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group. However, it recently removed the Palestinian resistance group Hamas from its terror list.
Morsi was elected as Egypt’s president in June 2012, becoming Egypt’s first democratically elected leader.
Within a year, however, pressure was placed on him to leave office amid street protests against his rule which demanded early elections, as Egypt struggled with economic problems. A brutal military crackdown forced Morsi out of office, which was followed by the bloody dispersal of the pro-Muslim Brotherhood camps at the Rabaa and Nahda squares in Cairo.
More than 1,000 people were killed in the dispersal of the camps, and since July 2013 hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood members and sympathisers have been arrested and given severely harsh sentences.