Morsi sentenced to life in prison, 6 sentenced to death in Qatar espionage case

Former President Mohamed Morsi was sentenced to life in prison for leaking national security secrets to Qatar, the state-owned Middle East News Agency (MENA) reported. Morsi’s personal secretary, Amin al-Serafy, and his office manager, Ahmed Abdel Aty, were also sentenced to life imprisonment.

Six other defendants, including three journalists, were sentenced to death in the case. They had received preliminary death sentences in May, which were reviewed by Egypt’s grand mufti, who is required to provide his non-legally binding opinion on death sentences, in accordance with Egyptian law.

Defendants sentenced to death include Al Jazeera journalists Ibrahim Helal, the Egyptian former news director of Al Jazeera’s Arabic channel, and Alaa Sablan, a Jordanian journalist with the network, both of whom were tried in absentia. Asmaa al-Khatib, a reporter with the Brotherhood-affiliated Rassd news website, was also sentenced to death in absentia.

All defendants were sentenced to an additional 15 years in a maximum-security prison. Serafy’s daughter, Karima al-Serafy, and Khaled Abdel Wahab, a producer at Misr 25 channel also received 15-year prison sentences, and Abdel Wahab was fined an additional US$10,000.

The 11 defendants in the case were charged with leaking reports by Egypt’s General and Military Intelligence, the Armed Forces, National Security and the Administrative Control Authority, which included confidential information about the Armed Forces and state policies, MENA reported.

The prosecution alleges Serafy gave the documents to his daughter Karima, who handed them to Jordanian Al Jazeera correspondent Sablan in Egypt, who flew to Qatar and met with the head of news for Al Jazeera and a Qatari intelligence officer in a hotel. The documents were allegedly traded for US$1 million, a portion of which the prosecution alleges was wired to Egypt.

Morsi has already received a death sentence in a separate case, in which he was accused of jailbreak in 2011, another life sentence for collaborating with Palestinian Islamist resistance group Hamas, Lebanon’s Hezbollah, and Iran’s Revolutionary Guard against the interests of the Egyptian state, and a 20-year sentence for conspiring to kill and illegally detain participants in protests outside the Presidential Palace in 2012.

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