Cassation Court upholds 20-year sentence for Morsi

The Court of Cassation Court rejected an appeal against a 20-year jail sentence for former President Mohamed Morsi and several other Muslim Brotherhood members on Saturday.

Morsi and his co-defendants, including Mohamed al-Beltagy and Essam al-Erian, were sentenced for involvement in violent clashes outside of the Ettehadiya Presidential Palace in 2012. The Court of Cassation is the highest judicial authority in Egypt, so Saturday’s verdict is final.

The Cairo Criminal Court originally accused Morsi and 14 others of premeditated murder, attempted murder, inciting violence, and the detention and torture of protesters. In April 2015 the defendants were found innocent of premeditated murder, but guilty of inciting violence.

The case pertains to the mass protests that took place in front of east Cairo’s Ettehadiya Presidential Palace on December 4, 2012. Protesters were demonstrating against a constitutional declaration issued by Morsi that gave him supra-constitutional powers.

Clashes broke out between Morsi supporters and anti-government protesters, leaving 10 dead and scores more wounded. During the trial many claimed that Morsi supporters tortured and assaulted protesters during the confrontations.

Hoda Nasrallah, a lawyer from the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), has previously told Mada Masr that the defendants in the case changed over time.

“Initially, when prosecutors first filed their charges in this case, the accused include Alaa Hamza, who appeared in videos posted by the Brotherhood revealing his involvement in the interrogation of the abducted protesters, and Islamist activists Abdel Rahman Ezz and Ahmed al-Mughayer,” she said, adding that as of June 17 2013, shortly before Morsi’s ouster, prosecutors added new defendants.

Nasrallah told Mada Masr that those added to the Ettehadiya case included Morsi, influential Muslim Brotherhood leaders Beltagy and Erian, and aides Asaad al-Sheikha, Ahmed Abdel Aaty, Ayman Hodhod and Wagdy Ghoneim.

Since Morsi’s ouster there has been a spate of cases filed against Muslim Brotherhood members and leaders. Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood Mohamed Badie has been sentenced to death at least three times since he was arrested in 2013.

Today’s decision to overturn the appeal coincides with the court’s acceptance of a different appeal submitted by Badie and several others requesting a retrial in the Istiqama Mosque case. Badie and his co-defendants were sentenced to life in prison by a Giza criminal court for complicity in clashes outside Istiqama Mosque in July 2013.

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