Mohamed Morsi, the former president of Egypt, has been sentenced to death. An Egyptian court ruled he was guilty of a mass prison break that occurred in 2011. During the prison break, Morsi and many of his supporters escaped and later ousted President Hosni Mubarak.
The Arab Spring, as it became known, led to the free election of Morsi in 2012. Although Morsi failed to maintain political power in the region, he still regains a great deal of support.
Morsi’s supporters from his Muslim Brotherhood movement have described the charges against him as “farcical”.
He was deposed by the military in July 2013 following mass street protests against his rule.
Since then, the authorities have banned the Muslim Brotherhood and arrested thousands of his supporters.
Morsi is not the only one condemned to die. Over 100 of his supporters in the Muslim Brotherhood also received death sentences.
Many human rights organizations are denouncing the ruling. A U.S. State Department official (anonymously) said the United States is “deeply concerned” by the decision. Regardless of any U.S. condemnation, Egypt is still a close ally in a region where the U.S. does not have many friends.
Despite US lawmakers’ concerns that Egypt is lagging on democratic reforms, Egypt remains one of Washington’s closest security allies in the region. Relations cooled after Morsi was overthrown by the military nearly two years ago, but ties with Sisi, his successor, have steadily improved.
There is still a glimmer of hope for Morsi. The sentence could be reversed. The Grand Mufti, Egypt’s highest religious official, will give his opinion on the ruling June 2. Although technically the Grand Mufti has no authority to change the decision, Egyptian courts traditionally follow his recommendation.
[BBC] [The Guardian] [Photo courtesy Mashable]