Egypt: Death verdict for Morsi, Al Jazeera journalists
June 19, Cairo: An Egyptian court has handed down its final ruling in the trial of 11 people, including toppled president Mohamed Morsi and Al Jazeera journalists, accused of leaking state secrets to Qatar, media reports said.
The court on Saturday confirmed a ruling from May 7, when six of the defendants were sentenced to death.
According to reports, after that initial verdict, the Cairo court had to seek the advice of Egypt's Grand Mufti Shawqi Allam, the highest religious leader in the country, to be able to finalise the verdicts.
Egyptian law requires the mufti to sign off on death sentences. His opinion is not binding but usually respected by courts.
Morsi, the case's top defendant, and two of his aides were sentenced to 25 years in prison for espionage (in Egypt a life sentence is equivalent to at least 25 years.
Morsi is already facing the death penalty on other charges.
Morsi and his secretary, Amin el-Sirafy, each received an additional 15-year sentence for a lesser crime. El-Sirafy's daughter, Karima, was also sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Those sentenced to death include Ibrahim Helal, former director of news at Al Jazeera's Arabic channel. He is not in Egypt and was tried in absentia.
Helal was accused of passing state secrets to Qatar in what human rights groups have dismissed as a politicised case and a sham trial.
Helal said he was "angered" by the verdict and that the entire judicial process was "fabricated".
Alaa Sablan, who was an Al Jazeera employee until last year, as well as Asmaa Alkhatib, a journalist with the Rassd News Network, were also sentenced to death in absentia, reports said.
The Oslo Times International News Network