Mohamed Morsi, the President of Egypt from June, 2012, to July, 2013, when he was removed in a coup d’etat, has been sentenced to death by a court in Cairo. Morsi, who belonged to the right-wing Freedom and Justice Party, was also affiliated with the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood movement, which the Egyptian government has clamped down upon violently. The organization was designated as a terrorist group in late 2013.
Over 100 other defendants were also sentenced to die. All defendants will have their verdicts referred to Egypt’s Grand Mufti, the country’s top expert in Islamic law, though his opinions are secondary to the court’s.
According to The Guardian, Morsi, along with 130 other defendants, were sentenced for their alleged part in jailbreaks and attacks on police during the Egyptian Revolution of 2011. The leader of the government during the revolution, Hosni Mubarak, had been sentenced to three years in prison following a series of trials, but was almost immediately freed. Mubarak has also previously voiced support of Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, the current President of Egypt, and former commander of the country’s armed forces under Morsi.
Morsi was democratically elected with 51 percent of the vote in 2012, before being removed by the military the following year. In 2014, al-Sisi was elected with 96 percent of the vote, with the Freedom and Justice Party having been banned in Egypt the same year.
Morsi’s sentence has been blasted by the President of Turkey, Tayyip Erdogan, The Guardian reported.
“The popularly elected president of Egypt, chosen with 52 percent of the vote, has unfortunately been sentenced to death.” He proclaimed, speaking in Istanbul. He went on to say “the west, unfortunately, is still turning a blind eye to Sisi’s coup. While they abolished the death penalty in their own countries, they just look on as spectators at this execution in Egypt.”
Morsi had been serving a 20-year sentence since April for his part in the deaths of protesters in 2012. The Daily Mail reports that Morsi raised his fists in a defiant gesture as the sentence was read to him.
Many people have taken to Twitter to express anger at the sentencing, with some calling it an affront to democracy.
— Efdal (@EElferri) May 16, 2015
Well that’ll teach #morsi to win an election. The nerve of that man.
— Zarrar Khuhro (@ZarrarKhuhro) May 16, 2015
Some expect that a backlash against the government could soon come following Morsi’s sentencing. The Independent reports that three judges have already been killed in what may be a revenge attack. The attack happened in the Sinai peninsula just hours after the former president was sentenced. The Egyptian government has previously placed the blame for violence in the peninsula on the Brotherhood, but they aren’t the only group present in the area. Members of the Ansar Bait al-Maqdis group, which became active following the 2011 revolution, have sworn allegiance to ISIS, and carried out attacks under their banner.
The Guardian also reported that an exiled member of the Brotherhood, Ahmed Ramy Elhofy, expressed a warning to the world.
“All the world will pay for this death sentence, will pay for their silence about the sentence, and for betraying the principles of freedom and justice.”
[Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images]