CAIRO: Former President Mohamed Morsi and 105 Muslim Brotherhood defendants were sentenced to death Saturday by North Cairo Criminal Court over escaping from jail in 2011, in the case publicly known as the “Wadi al-Natroun Prison break.”
The death sentences were referred to the Grand Mufti for approval. Referring certain cases to the Grand Mufti is a necessary procedure, according to Egypt’s penal code; however, his opinion is not-binding.
The final verdict against Morsi and other 128 defendants in the case is set to be finalized on June 2. However, it can be appealed by the defendants.
The defendants include Mahmoud Ezzat, Badie’s deputy, Saad el-Katatni, former Speaker of the 2012 People’s Assembly and member of the Brotherhood’s Guidance Bureau, Mohamed Beltagy, former Brotherhood Member of Parliament, Essam el-Erian, former Brotherhood MP, and Qatar-based Islamist cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi.
Those tried in absentia include members of Hamas and Hezbollah.
On Jan. 29, 2011, assailants raided Wadi al-Natroun prison, freeing a large number of prisoners, including members of Egyptian, Palestinian and Lebanese groups. Morsi, who was jailed on remand, was among those who fled the prison.
Also, Morsi is among 36 defendants accused of spying with Hamas and Hezbollah in the case known as “Espionage case,” which was considered during the same session Saturday. The court referred 16 defendants, excluding Morsi, to the Mufti.
In April, Morsi was sentenced to 20 years in prison for inciting violence outside the Ittihadeya Presidential Palace in 2012.
Ousted in July 3, 2013, Morsi stayed in office less than a year after he won over former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq in the 2012 presidential elections. Before his deposal, mass protests took to the streets demanding the end of the Muslim Brotherhood rule in Egypt.
The Islamist group’s Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie was among those sentenced to death in the 2011 prison break case Saturday.
Before Saturday’s ruling, Badie has been already sentenced to death twice; one of them was nullified while the other was upheld. In April 11, he had his first death sentenced upheld over inciting violence in the case known as “Rabaa Control Room.”
Badie has collected total jail sentences of 104 years in seven cases so far, according to Youm7.