By Aydogan Kalabalik
Egypt’s first democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi spends his fifth year behind bars since he was ousted by the military in a coup in 2013.
He was tried in six cases; a mass jailbreak, murder, spying for Qatar, espionage with Palestinian group Hamas and Lebanese group Hezbollah, insulting the judiciary and terrorism.
“Verdicts against Morsi are politically-motivated,” Alaa Abdulmunsif, head of Salam Organization for Protection of Human Rights, told Anadolu Agency.
“The regime wants to get rid of him,” he said.
In June 2016, an Egyptian court placed Morsi on the country’s official list of “terrorists” for three years.
In the same year, the Court of Cassation, Egypt’s highest appellate court, upheld a 20-year jail term against Morsi on charges of murder during deadly clashes between supporters and opponents outside the Ittihadiya presidential palace in 2012.
Morsi, along four other Brotherhood leaders, was also sentenced to death for alleged involvement in a mass jailbreak in 2011 during a popular uprising that swept former autocrat Hosni Mubarak from power.
However, the Court of Cassation overturned the verdicts and ordered a retrial in 2016.
Morsi was slapped with a life sentence for allegedly spying for Qatar. He was also sentenced to three years in prison for offending the judiciary.
The former president is also standing a retrial on charges of a mass jailbreak and espionage with Hamas.
Saeed Sadek, professor of political sociology at the American University in Cairo, believes that Morsi’s trials are the result of “political competition”.
"How come those who overthrew him would set him free” he asked.
Sadek ruled out any reconciliation between the Egyptian regime and the Muslim Brotherhood in the near future.
“The regime now is very strong and will not look into reconciliation with the Muslim Brotherhood,” he opined.
Since Morsi’s overthrow, Egyptian authorities have launched a relentless crackdown on dissent, killing hundreds of his supporters and sending thousands behind bars for inciting violence.
In 2013, the military-backed authorities declared Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood group a terrorist organization.
Morsi and his supporters deny the charges against them as “politically-motivated”.