CAIRO: Mohamed Morsi was sentenced to 20 years in prison for inciting violence outside the Ittihadeya Presidential Palace in 2012 Tuesday morning at the Cairo Criminal Court; the defendants were however acquitted on charges of killing the protesters.
Two of his co-defendants were sentenced to 10-year terms while the other 12 defendants, including former vice president of Freedom and Justice Party (MB’s political wing) Essam el-Erian and Mohamed el-Beltagy , the former party’s secretary in Cairo and Morsi’s aide Ahmed Abdel Aty, were sentenced to 12 years.
The prosecution accused the defendants of inciting violence, killing and torturing protesters and processing firearms and knives.
The trial started Nov. 4, 2013 and lasted for 15 months; Morsi consistently denounced the proceedings from the defendants’ cage, and declared that he was “still the country’s legitimate president.” He and his co-defendants were later surrounded by glass in the cage to muffle their outburst as the trial proceeded.
Today’s court ruling is a initial verdict, meaning that it can be appealed by the defendants.
Morsi is being tried in other two cases related to espionage with foreign countries and escaping from the Wadi al-Natroun prison during the January 25 Revolution.
Some commentators previously expressed concerns that a life sentence for Morsi could spark concerns of foreign media and western governments.
The U.S. state department previously condemned a life sentence ruling towards 37 junior MB members last year for a case in Minya; “The United States is deeply concerned by today’s Egyptian court actions related to another mass trial and preliminary death sentences,” said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.