Cairo – An Egyptian court sentenced ousted President of Muslim Brotherhood Mohammed Morsi to 25 years in prison on Saturday in a final ruling over a case accusing him of espionage for Qatar.
Originally, Morsi was sentenced to 40 years, but Egypt’s Court of Cassation reduced the sentence to 25 years in its final ruling.
Morsi was overthrown following mass public protests in July 2013 against his one-year rule.
The defendants in the case include Morsi’s head of office Ahmed Abdul Ati and his secretary Amin al-Sherafy and 11 others. Four were tried in absentia.
The defendants were charged with endangering national security by leaking state secrets and sensitive documents to Qatar. Many of them worked with the Qatari al-Jazeera channel.
Morsi is already serving a 20-year sentence after being convicted for the killing of protesters during demonstrations in 2012.
The court also upheld death sentences for documentary producer Ahmed Ali Abdo, Egypt Air cabin crew member Mohamed Adel Kilani and university teaching assistant Ahmed Ismail Thabet, as well as a life term and 15 years for two others.
Six defendants previously received death sentences after the Grand Mufti argued that the “crimes of the defendants are similar to that of treason” in which punishment should be death.
Morsi faced three other sentences and is still standing trial in a case where he and others are charged of insulting the judiciary. He received both a death sentence and a life imprisonment sentence in two other trials.
Seven of the defendants were staffers of al-Jazeera, Egypt 25 and Rased channel. They are charged with espionage and directly cooperating with Qatari intelligence services as well as providing Qatar authorities with confidential documents. The court also ruled that these documents had been released from the president’s office with the knowledge of his secretary and other officials.
In other news, an Egyptian court sentenced seven people to death for being members of the ISIS terrorist group. They are charged for the beheading of 21 Christians in Libya.
Of the seven defendants, three were sentenced to death in absentia, while an unspecified number of those condemned were accused of taking part in the beheadings.
Egypt’s Mufti will review the death sentences although his verdict is not legally binding.
Prosecutors accused the seven suspects of forming an ISIS cell in Marsa Matruh, northwest Egypt, and of planning attacks after having received military training at militant camps in Libya and Syria.
Rulings are to be issued on November 25 against 13 others on trial in the same case.