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Morsi faces potential death sentence in prison break judgement

02 June 2015, 17:18

Cairo - The Criminal Court in Cairo was due on Tuesday to issue its verdict in the trial of former Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi, who faces a potential death sentence on prison break charges.

Prosecutors charged that Morsi and other leaders in the Muslim Brotherhood conspired with foreign Islamist organisations to storm prisons during the 2011 uprising that toppled long-time ruler Hosny Mubarak.

The court last month referred Morsi and over 100 co-defendants to the country's chief Islamic legal authority - a preliminary step towards issuing a death sentence.

The Brotherhood has dismissed the case as a political farce. Amnesty International described the trial as "grossly unfair."

The charges were brought after the military, then headed by Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi who has since been elected president, deposed Morsi in mid-2013 in the wake of mass protests against his one year rule.

Morsi and other Brotherhood leaders were among thousands of prisoners who were freed in disputed circumstances during the chaos of the 2011 uprising.

Both prosecution and defendants can appeal the verdict. If the verdict is death, there is an automatic appeal.

The Muslim Brotherhood, which came first in parliamentary as well as presidential elections after the fall of Mubarak, has been subjected to a fierce crackdown since Morsi's ouster.

Hundreds of mainly Islamist demonstrators have been killed in clashes with security forces or in the break-up of protests.

Activists say over 40 000 people, mainly Islamists, have been detained or prosecuted.

According to the official National Council for Human Rights, a total 700 members of the security forces have also been killed. Most of those fell victim to jihadist groups.

Authorities have banned the Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation, pointing to violence during some of its demonstrations as well as the attacks on security forces. It maintains it is committed to peaceful protest.

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