Six-sentenced-to-death-in-Qatar-espionage-case-in-Egypt. CAIRO, Six defendants in a Qatar espionage case were issued preliminary death sentences Saturday, according to Egyptian state media.
The case has 10 defendants, including ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, who was convicted three previous times including a death sentence.
Morsi, 63, hasn’t been sentenced yet and likely won’t be sentenced to death because it must be reviewed by Egypt’s mufti, the nation’s highest religious legal authority. His opinion is not binding but is usually respected by courts.
Morsi was ousted by Egypt’s military in 2013 after anti-government street protests.
Morsi earlier was sentenced to death because he collaborated with Hamas and Hezbollah to break into Egyptian prisons in 2011 that facilitated his escape along with 20,000 others. He also was convicted of violence and inciting violence and sentenced to 20 years in prison for torturing protesters outside the palace in 2012. And he had a life sentence, which is 25 years in Egypt, for espionage.
The verdict will be issued June 18 but all defendants can appeal.
The men are accused of leaking classified documents to Qatar. Three condemned men were tried in absentia.
Defendants include two Al Jazeera journalists, who were tied in absentia: Ibrahim Helal, the former director of news at Al Jazeera’s Arabic channel, and Jordanian citizen Alaa Omar Mohamed Sablan, identified by the prosecution as an Al Jazeera journalist.
Asmaa Mohamed al-Khatib, identified as a reporter with the pro-Brotherhood Rassd news outlet, was also sentenced to death in absentia.
The Muslim Brotherhood has dismissed the sentences and other verdicts as politically motivated.
By Allen Cone