Egypt: Court seeks death sentence for ex-president Mursi and 105 others

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By Sarah Taylor  with Reuters
Egypt: Court seeks death sentence for ex-president Mursi and 105 others

A court in Cairo is seeking the death penalty for ousted Egyptian president, Mohammed Mursi and 105 additional members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood group.

Khairat al-Shater, one of the movement’s top leaders, is among those sentenced.

They are being tried in connection with a mass prison break in 2011.

Mursi, Egypt’s first freely-elected president, was deposed by the then army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in July 2013 following huge street protests against his policies. The Brotherhood – reinstated under his rule – was once more banned, with authorities arresting thousands of the movement’s followers.

The former leader refuses to recognise the authority of the courts, but is already serving a 20-year jail term for ordering the arrest and torture of dissidents during his 12-month rule.

Supporters of Mursi claim the charges against him are politically motivated. Human Rights Watch labelled the trial process “badly flawed.”

In Egypt, all sentences of capital punishment must first be approved by the Grand Mufti, the highest official of religious law. Journalists for euronews’ Arabic service say he is unlikely to disagree with the ruling of the court. However, those convicted are still eligible to appeal, even if their sentence has been approved.