Egypt court issues preliminary death sentence to Morsi in jailbreak case

The court sent its initial ruling of death against Morsi in jailbreak case, and initial verdicts of death against Brotherhood leaders Shater and Beltagy and 14 others in espionage case, to Grand Mufti for consultative review

Cairo Criminal Court on Saturday issued a preliminary ruling of death to former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi and 105 other defendants in the trial known as the “Natroun Jailbreak case.”
The court has sent its decision in the “Natroun case” to the country’s Grand Mufti for a consultative review as required by Egyptian law,  setting 2 June as a date for a final verdict.
The court also issued a preliminary ruling of death to Brotherhood leaders Mohamed El-Beltagy and Khairat El-Shater and 14 others in the trial known as “Hamas Espionage case.”
The court also sent its decision in the “Hamas Espionage case” to the country’s Grand Mufti for a consultative review as required by Egyptian law,  setting 2 June as a date for a final verdict.
The Grand Mufti’s opinion is non-binding to the court. However, Egyptian judges have traditionally adjusted their final rulings in accordance with the Mufti’s recommendations.
The defendants still retain the right to appeal any final verdict.
Saturday’s capital punishment ruling against Morsi makes him the first president in Egypt’s history to face the possibility of death by hanging if court ratifies its initial decision on 2 June or he loses his projected appeal.
In the espionage case, Morsi and 35 others were charged with conspiring with foreign powers — including the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, Lebanon’s Hizbullah and Iran’s Revolutionary Guard — to destabilise Egypt.
In the jailbreak case, the ex-president, along with 130 co-defendants, is accused of breaking out of jail during the 2011 uprising against Mubarak.
In April, Morsi, who hails from the Muslim Brotherhod, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for inciting violence and ordering the arrest and torture of demonstrators during the December 2012 clashes between his supporters and opponents. 
Hundreds of members of the Brotherhood, which was banned a few months after Morsi’s ouster, face trials on various criminal charges including murder, attempted murder, inciting violence and breaking the protest law. 
In April also, Brotherhood supreme guide Mohamed Badie, Omar Malek, the son of leading Brotherhood member and businessman Hassan Malek, as well as leading member Saad El-Hoseiny were among fourteen Islamists who received the capital punishment in a separate murder trial. The verdict in this case has been appealed.
More to follow (Ahram)

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