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Egypt Sentences Former President Mohammed Morsi and More Than 100 Others to Death

The Muslim Brotherhood leader received the death penalty for his alleged role in mass jailbreaks that were part of the 2011 uprising against longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak.
May 16, 2015, 3:30pm
Photo by Ahmed Omar/AP

Mohammed Morsi, the former president of Egypt who was ousted in a military coup in 2013, was sentenced to death today for his alleged involvement in prison breaks that occurred in 2011 prior to the fall of longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak.

The death sentence comes just weeks after Morsi's last criminal trial, which resulted in him being sentenced to 20 years in prison for allegedly ordering attacks against protesters.

In the prison break trial, Morsi and more than 100 other defendants received death sentences for their alleged role in the mass jailbreaks. The escapes were part of an uprising against Mubarak, who ultimately resigned from office after weeks of massive street protests during the Egyptian Revolution. Morsi was accused of plotting to free jailed Islamists during the prison breaks.

Related: Egypt's Ex-President Mohamed Morsi Sentenced to 20 Years in First of Many Trials

The country's religious authorities will now decide whether to uphold the court-ordered sentence, according to the BBC.

Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, won a democratic election for president following the revolution and Mubarak's resignation, but was ultimately ousted in a military coup and replaced by current President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

Following Morsi's exit form office, the Egyptian government banned the Muslim Brotherhood and designated the group as a terrorist organization.

Egypt's court system has drawn international criticism recently for its trials and harsh sentences for Muslim Brotherhood members. Sixteen Muslim Brotherhood members were sentenced to death today on spying charges, which Morsi also faces in a future trial.

Related: Fear, Censorship, and Pledges of Loyalty: Egyptian Press Freedom Is at Its Lowest Ebb

Shadi Hamid, a fellow at the Brookings Institution who has met Morsi, told VICE News last month that the Egyptian legal system is "the worst it's been in decades," and said it is highly politicized.

"In some ways the judiciary has been even more aggressive against the Brotherhood than Sisi and the executive branch," he told VICE News.

Hamid said last month that "it would be unprecedented in the recent history of the Arab world to execute a recent president."

Follow Colleen Curry on Twitter: __@currycolleen

Sally Hayden contributed reporting