An Egyptian court has struck down a death sentence and ordered a retrial of a decision by a lower tribunal against Egypt's first democratically elected president, Mohammad Morsi, who was overthrown after a military coup led by the incumbent President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in 2013, according to reports.
The Court of Cassation's ruling yesterday means that the ousted Morsi would be given a new trial, alongside five other leaders of his now-banned Muslim Brotherhood group, whose death sentences in the same case were also quashed. The court also struck down life sentences passed in the same case against 21 Brotherhood members.
Since Morsi's ousting and imprisonment, the Egyptian authorities have launched a harsh crackdown on his Muslim Brotherhood. Morsi, along with another 105 defendants, was given a life sentence for spying for foreign powers and a death sentence over a mass prison break during the incidents in 2011 that ousted former autocratic President Hosni Mubarak, who ruled Egypt for 30 years.
He was sentenced to death in June 2015 in connection with a mass jailbreak during the country's 2011 uprising.
Last month, the same appeals court upheld a 20-year jail sentence handed down against Morsi in April in a separate trial on charges of ordering the use of deadly force against protesters during his year in power. Morsi has also been sentenced to life in prison in two other trials. In one, he was convicted of spying for Iran, Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and the Palestinian movement Hamas. In the other, he was found guilty of stealing documents relating to national security and handing them over to Qatar, a longstanding supporter of the Brotherhood.
Earlier this year, an Egyptian appellate court canceled the death sentence of Morsi, a senior Muslim Brotherhood figure told Daily Sabah Tuesday. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to security reasons, said they believed the death sentences would be abolished if the court holds fair trials. Over the jailbreak, the court claimed that Morsi and other Muslim Brotherhood members unlawfully left the prison. But in a telephone interview conducted with Morsi by Al Jazeera in 2011, the ousted president said that he and other Muslim Brotherhood members had not left the prison despite the fact that many were fleeing.
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