Egypt sentences former President Mursi to death

An Egyptian court transfers the case of former Islamist President Mohammad Mursi to the Grand Mufti

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An Egyptian court on Saturday sought the death sentence for former President Mohammad Mursi and 105 other members of the Muslim Brotherhood in connection with a mass jail break in 2011.

Mursi, sitting in a caged dock, raised his fists in defiance when the judge read his verdict.

Many of those sentenced were tried in absentia, including prominent Islamic cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi who resides in Qatar.

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

The cases, like any capital sentence, will be referred to Egypt’s top religious authority, the Grand Mufti, for any opinion before any executions can take place.

The court will pronounce its final decision on June 2.

Following the announcement, Amnesty International called the court's decision “a charade based on null and void procedures” and demanded his release or retrial in a civilian court.

From his part, the Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan criticized Egypt over the court decision and accused the West of hypocrisy, the state-run Anatolian news agency reported.

“While the West is abolishing the death penalty, they are just watching the continuation of death sentences in Egypt. They don't do anything about it,” Erdogan was quoted as saying.

Mursi, Egypt's first freely elected president, was ousted by the military in July 2013 following days of mass street protests by Egyptians demanding that he be removed because of his divisive policies.

The ousted leader already is serving a 20-year sentence following his conviction on April 21 on charges linked to the killing of protesters outside a Cairo presidential palace in December 2012.

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