Morsi sentenced to death

Former Egyptian leader currently serving 20-year sentence

Former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi has been sentenced to death by a Cairo court, on charges of breaking out of prison during Egypt’s uprising four years ago as well as espionage.

The verdict, which was broadcast on state television on the morning of 16 May, is being referred to Egypt’s Grand Mufti, the nation's highest Muslim theologian, whose non-binding opinion is required in cases of capital punishment.

The court also sought a death sentence for one of the Muslim Brotherhood's top leaders, Khairat el-Shater, for conspiring with foreign militant groups against Egypt.

The ousted Islamist president is currently serving a 20-year jail term after being sentenced by a criminal court in Cairo on 21 April. He was convicted in connection with the killing of demonstrators in clashes outside the presidential palace in December 2012, following a decree that awarded him sweeping powers as president.

Morsi served as president from June 2012 until 3 July 2013 when he was toppled by the Egyptian army whose chief at the time was Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, now the president of Egypt.

Sisi accused the Brotherhood of using militant groups as a front to destabilise the country and immediately set about dismantling the 86-year-old movement. The Brotherhood was declared a terrorist organisation and the ensuing crackdown led to thousands of its members being arrested, hundreds of which have since received death sentences.

The Brotherhood claims that all charges against Morsi and its former top leaders are politically motivated, while human rights organisation Amnesty International described Morsi's 20-year jail sentence as a “travesty of justice.”