Verdict postponed in spy case against Egypt's Morsi

Verdict postponed in spy case against Egypt's Morsi
The verdict in a case against Egypt's first democratically-elected president - Mohamed Morsi - has been postponed until next month, a case widely viewed as politically-motivated.
2 min read
23 April, 2016
Morsi has been held in jail since his overthrow as president in 2013 [AFP]

The court verdict in a case alleging that Egypt's first democratically-elected president spied for Qatar has been postponed until next month.

The head judge in the trial against former President Mohamed Morsi said an outcome would be put back until 7 May to allow jurists more time for consultations.

If convicted, this would be Morsi's fourth sentence having already been given a life term and 20 years in prison.

Qatar was one of Morsi's main backers and Cairo accuses Doha of supporting the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood movement, which the president was a part of.

Morsi was overthrown just after his first year in office in a military coup and detained in July 2013.

The former Defence Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi took over the country and has since become president. His rule has been associated with a campaign of terror against his Islamist and democratic opponents.

Morsi was initially to be tried on vague charges of espionage and for a mass prison break during the 18-day revolt that overthrew his predecessor Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

Human rights groups see the imprisonment of Morsi and other members of the Muslim Brotherhood as politically motivated and illegal.

The most recent prosecution charges that Morsi and 10 co-defendants leaked "classified documents" to Qatar.

The documents allegedly contained secrets on "national security", and were allegedly traded with Qatari intelligence for a million dollars.

A court in 2015 sentenced Morsi to death over the prison breaks and attacks on police stations during the 2011 uprising against former President Hosni Mubarak.

Morsi was also sentenced to life in prison for "espionage" on behalf of Iran and other countries, as well as militant groups Hamas and Hizballah.

Another court sentenced him to 20 years in prison for clashes that erupted outside his presidential palace in December 2012 between his supporters and opponents, which left up to ten people dead.

The clashes - after Morsi issued a decree placing his decisions above judicial review - set off spiralling protests and led to the military coup.

Since then, a wave of arrests and shootings on protesters had led to thousands imprisoned, tortured and killed.

Hundreds, including other Muslim Brotherhood leaders, have been sentenced to death, although many have appealed and been granted new trials.