Newspaper article International New York Times

Sentences in Egypt Await Final Approval ; Death Penalty Imposed on Morsi and over 100 Others for Prison Break

Newspaper article International New York Times

Sentences in Egypt Await Final Approval ; Death Penalty Imposed on Morsi and over 100 Others for Prison Break

Article excerpt

Mohamed Morsi was sentenced to death over his part in a mass prison break that took place during the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak.

An Egyptian court has sentenced to death the deposed president Mohamed Morsi, along with more than 100 others, for fleeing prison during the 2011 revolt against President Hosni Mubarak.

Mr. Morsi's conviction is the latest sign of the undoing of the uprising that overthrew Mr. Mubarak. Mr. Morsi, who was Egypt's first freely elected leader, now faces the death penalty for escaping extralegal detention -- a form of detention that many Egyptians had hoped would be eliminated by the revolution.

If carried out, the sentence, handed down on Saturday, could make Mr. Morsi a martyr to millions of Islamists in Egypt and around the world. In a statement about the sentencing, Amr Darrag, a Muslim Brotherhood leader who was a cabinet minister under Mr. Morsi, said it was "one of the darkest days of Egyptian history" and a symbol "of the dark shadow of authoritarianism that is now cast back over Egypt."

Judge Shaaban el-Shami issued the ruling in a courtroom in a converted auditorium on the grounds of a police academy on the outskirts of Cairo. Mr. Morsi, wearing a blue prison uniform, stood inside a metal and glass cage built in the courtroom. Some of his co- defendants, including other senior Brotherhood leaders, also appeared in the cage.

In a sonorous tone, the judge read a list, spanning three pages, of those sentenced to death. His pronouncement set off cries of "Allahu akbar!" (God is great) from the prisoners. As the session ended, the prisoners waved and chanted "Down with military rule!"

Before they can be carried out, the death sentences must be approved by Egypt's top Sunni Muslim religious authority, the grand mufti, who is scheduled to make a ruling by June 2. The convictions are also subject to appeal through the court system.

Hours after the verdict was issued, three Egyptian judges were killed by gunmen on a bus in the Sinai Peninsula. …

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