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Egypt’s former president Mohammed Morsi jailed for 20 years

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Mohamed_Morsi

By NewsGram Staff Writer

Egypt’s former president Mohammed Morsi was today sentenced to 20 years in prison in a case related to killing of protesters outside the Ittihadiya presidential palace in December 2012.

It is the first verdict that has been issued to Morsi in the case. In July 2013, he was ousted by the military subsequent to the mass protests a year after he was appointed the country’s first democratically elected leader.

Morsi was democratically chosen Egypt’s president a year after an upheaval squashed 30 years’ rule of Hosni Mubarak. However, Morsi’s 12 months rule never tried to tackle the country’s social and economic issues rather focused on empowering political control.

The first anniversary of Morsi’s administration witnessed his opponents organizing large protests and demanding his resignation from the post. However, three days later, the then military chief – and present president – Abdul Fattah al-Sisi ousted Morsi. Meanwhile the interim authorities followed a clampdown on Morsi’s supporters, which resulted in the killing of more than 1,400 people.

Implicated for provoking the supporters to kill a journalist and two opposition protesters, and for issuing order for the torture and unlawful detention of others during the uprising outside the Ittihadiya presidential palace in Cairo in December 2012, Morsi and 14 other senior Muslim Brotherhood leaders underwent a trial in November 2013.

Morsi is also facing trials in these issues:

  •  He named a judge in a public speech and accused him of overseeing fraud in previous elections, resulting in the charge of abusing the judiciary.
  •  Charge of planning a scheme with foreign militants to liberate Islamists in mass prison breaks during the 2011 uprising against Hosni Mubarak.
  •  Charge of conspiring to execute terrorist activities in Egypt with the Palestinian movement Hamas, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.
  • Charge of putting national security in jeopardy by disclosing sensitive and secretive documents to Qatar via the Doha-based Al Jazeera network.

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U.N. Urges Egypt To Halt All Executions Based On Confessions Obtained Against Torture

“There is significant cause for concern that due process and fair trial guarantees may not have been followed in some or all of these cases, and that the very serious allegations concerning the use of torture were not properly investigated,” Colville said.

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Family members of those convicted and executed for the killing of public prosecutor Hisham Barakat gather at Zynhom morgue in Cairo, Egypt, Feb. 20, 2019, as they wait for their bodies to be released. VOA

The U.N. Human Rights Office is urging Egypt to halt all executions and to conduct investigations into all allegations that people are subjected to the death penalty based on confessions obtained under torture.

Egypt has executed 15 people in February and the U.N. Human Rights Office notes the month is not yet over. The agency reports nine people were executed this week in a case related to the killing of Egypt’s General Prosecutor, Hisham Barakat.

Regarding six other killings earlier this month, it says three men were convicted of assassinating a police officer and three others in connection with the murder of the son of a judge.

Human rights office spokesman Rupert Colville said in all cases the defendants have told the court they were subjected to torture to make them confess to the crimes of which they were accused.

FILE - A defendant is seen caged in a courtroom in Torah prison, southern Cairo, Egypt, Aug. 22, 2015.
A defendant is seen caged in a courtroom in Torah prison, southern Cairo, Egypt, Aug. 22, 2015. VOA

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In June 2017, the U.N. Committee against Torture completed a four-year confidential inquiry and concluded that torture is “practiced systematically” in Egypt. Colville told VOA the recent allegations of torture, in almost all of these cases, come against this well-established backdrop that torture is endemic in Egypt.

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“If torture was used to make a confession a considerable part of the prosecution’s case, then that should not be admitted in court. That confession produced under torture should not be admissible. And when these allegations have been brought up by the defense lawyers and so on, our belief is they are not being taken seriously enough by the courts,” he said.

Colville said a number of individuals convicted under similar circumstances in Egypt have exhausted all legal proceedings. He says they currently are on death row at imminent risk of execution. (VOA)