Former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi was handed down a preliminary death sentence on Saturday by an Egyptian court. The final decision will be made by Egypt’s Grand Mufti. Morsi was handed the extremely harsh sentence after escaping prison during the 2011 series of protests in Egypt.
Although the ousting of the former regime lead to Mohamed Morsi’s appointment as president, he only held power for a year before his arrest and return to prison.
It’s widely believed that the strict punishment given to Mohamed represents the intent of current President Abdel Fattah Al Sis to eliminate any threats to his power in Egypt. As the leader of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi is the head of an organization that many feel is the most influential challenge to the present leader’s authority.
— The Independent (@Independent) May 16, 2015
According to the Wall Street Journal, Morsi is among 106 members sentenced to death. Thousands have been arrested and jailed in “mass trials” under Sisi in a manner that the United Nations considers alarming and a potential violation of international laws.
The Obama Administration expressed a great deal of criticism about the methods used by the Sisi administration to depose of threats to power. This culminated in the United States freezing its annual $1.5 billion aid package to Cairo. However, the aid package was mostly reinstated in 2014.
With this new turn of events concerning Mohamed Morsi, it’s expected that the U.S. will once again go on record as condemning the Egyptian government’s decision. The leaders of other nations have also spoken out against the current leadership in Egypt, including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. A staunch ally of Mohamed and the Muslim Brotherhood, Erdogan said that the ruling represented a return to “ancient Egypt.”
“Unfortunately, they decided to execute [Mohamed] Morsi. Egypt is turning to ancient Egypt.”
Emad Shahin is an American professor at the American University in Cairo was handed a death sentence “in absentia.” He commented about the “troubling” situation in Egypt on his Facebook page.
“These sentences are yet another manifestation of the deeply troubling way the Egyptian judiciary has been used as a tool to settle political disagreements. [D]ue process, regard for evidence, and minimum standards of justice have been tossed aside in favor of draconian injustice.”
In addition to his death sentence, Mohamed Morsi was also sentenced to more than 20 years in prison. In the event that Morsi isn’t executed, he’ll likely be jailed for a long time, if not the rest of his life.
Do you think the United States should interfere on behalf of Mohamed Morsi or avoid any involvement in the ongoing situation? Comment below!
[Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons]