An Egyptian court Saturday, June 18 sentenced former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi to life in prison in an espionage trial in which six of his co-defendants were handed death penalties, AFP reports.
The court acquitted Morsi of charges of having supplied Qatar with classified documents but sentenced him to life for leading an unlawful organisation, his lawyer Abdel Moneim Abdel Maksoud told AFP.
The ousted president was also convicted of having “stolen secret documents concerning state security” and handed another 15-year jail term, the lawyer added.
Qatar was a main backer of Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood movement while he was in power between 2012 and July 2013, when the military overthrew and detained him, AFP says.
Morsi has been sentenced to death in a separate trial for his alleged role in prison breaks and attacks on police stations during the 2011 uprising that overthrew veteran strongman Hosni Mubarak.
He has also received a life sentence and a 20-year jail term in two other trials.
On Saturday the court confirmed death sentences against six defendants, including three journalists tried in absentia who allegedly helped relay secret documents to Qatar.
The journalists have been identified as Ibrahim Mohamed Hilal and Jordanian citizen Alaa Omar Mohamed Sablan, both of Qatar-based Al-Jazeera channel.
The third has been named as Asmaa Mohamed al-Khatib, a female reporter with pro-Muslim Brotherhood news outlet Rassd, AFP says.
The death sentences had been sent to the mufti — Egypt’s official interpreter of Islamic law — as Egyptian law requires his opinion on death sentences although his opinion is not binding.
The verdicts can be appealed.