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Egypt's Morsi jailed 20 years for protester deaths

This is the first verdict against Morsi since his ouster in mid-2013

21.04.2015
Egypt's Morsi jailed 20 years for protester deaths

CAIRO

An Egyptian court on Tuesday sentenced ousted President Mohamed Morsi and others to 20 years in jail for inciting the murder of opposition protesters three years ago – the first conviction against the Islamist president since his ouster by the army in mid-2013.

Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected president, was found guilty along with 12 co-defendants of inciting the murder of demonstrators during clashes between his supporters and opponents outside eastern Cairo's Ittihadiya presidential palace in December of 2012.

Although a total of 11 people – including eight Morsi supporters – were killed in the palace violence, the trial only addresses the death of one reporter and two anti-Morsi demonstrators.

The defendants, including senior leaders of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, were also convicted of mobilizing supporters in order to "intimidate, detain and torture" dozens of Morsi's opponents who had camped out for days outside the palace.

Two other defendants were sentenced to ten years each on similar charges.

Abdel-Moneim Abdel-Maqsoud, the chief defense lawyer, told The Anadolu Agency that the defense team would not appeal the verdict before first consulting with Morsi.

"We will not file an appeal without obtaining [Morsi's] approval, since he does not recognize the trial," Abdel-Maqsoud told AA.

Yasser Abdel-Hamid, one of the plaintiffs, said the verdict handed down against Morsi and the others was "satisfactory."

"We are satisfied with the verdict, even though we did not expect the court to acquit [Morsi and his co-defendants] of premeditated murder charges," he told AA.

Abdel-Hamid said he expected prosecutors to appeal the court's decision to clear Morsi and his co-defendants of the premeditated murder charge.

Tuesday's verdict, which remains subjects to appeal, was the first against Morsi since his ouster and detention by the army in mid-2013.

Since then, he has been slapped with numerous criminal charges, which he and his supporters insist are politically motivated.

Morsi was ousted by the military in July of 2013 – after only one year in office – following mass protests against his presidency.

Since Morsi's ouster, Egyptian authorities have launched a relentless crackdown on dissent that has largely targeted Morsi's Islamist supporters, leaving hundreds dead and thousands behind bars.

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