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HomeNewsWorldMohammed Morsi Gets 20 Years In Prison For Killing Protestors In 2012

Mohammed Morsi Gets 20 Years In Prison For Killing Protestors In 2012

Egypt-Mohammed-Morsi
Egypt-Mohammed-Morsi

April 21, 2015: Egypt’s ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi sits in a soundproof glass cage inside a makeshift courtroom at Egypt’s national police academy in Cairo. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

Egyptian Islamist President Mohammed Morsi was sentenced to 20 years by a criminal court on Tuesday for charges linked to the killing of protesters in 2012, the first of several verdicts to be handed down against the country’s first democratically elected leader.

Judge Ahmed Youssef handed down his verdict as Morsi and other defendants in the case stood in a soundproof glass cage inside a makeshift courtroom at Egypt’s national police academy. Though Morsi was present, 7 of the accused were tried in absentia.

The ruling, which can and will be appealed, marked the downfall of Morsi who rose to power under Egypt’s once-powerful Muslim Brotherhood. The Islamists, deemed to be a terrorist group, rose to power promising economic and cultural reforms following the 2011 ouster of Hosni Mubarak. However, they never delivered on those promises, sparking populous pushback just a year later when millions protested against them for abusing power.

The military, which was headed up by Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, now the current president, vowed to protect the Egyptian people against the Muslim Brotherhood and eventually overthrew the Islamist government.

However, in an ironic turn of events, Mubarak and former members of his government recently have been acquitted of numerous criminal charges, while Morsi and the Brotherhood are at the receiving end of heavy-handed sentences. Morsi did, however, escape the death penalty.

Worth noting, Tuesday’s verdict sparked no immediate protests by Islamic groups in the Arab world’s largest country.

Twelve other Muslim Brotherhood leaders and Islamist supporters, including Mohammed el-Beltagy and Essam el-Erian, were also sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Youssef dropped murder charges involved in the case, instead ruling the sentences were justified by the “show of force” and unlawful detention of protestors and political opponents.

The surrounded violence in response to protests outside the presidential palace that took place in December 2012. Morsi’s organized supporters attacked the opposition demanding that Morsi call off a referendum on an Islamist-drafted constitution. The deadly confrontation killed at least 10 people during the night.

Though Morsi remained defiant in the face of the court, he has not repeated earlier behavior seen in the beginning of the trial.

“I am the president of the republic!” Morsi would repeatedly shout in attempts to interrupt and delegitimize the proceedings.

Now, during Tuesday’s hearing, Morsi and the rest of the defendants smiled in their white jumpsuits and just raised the four-finger sign symbolizing the events at the Rabaah al-Adawiya mosque that resulted in hundreds being killed. The military had banned the Brotherhood, but they staged a sit-in on Aug. 14, 2013. Security forces moved in to disperse what was technically an illegal Islamist gathering and some 4,000 people were either hurt or killed.

From his exile in Turkey’s capital, Istanbul, top Muslim Brotherhood figure Amr Darrag called the ruling

“This is a sad and terrible day in Egyptian history,” said top Muslim Brotherhood leader Amr Darrag, who is currently in exile in Turkey’s capital, Istanbul. “They want to pass a life sentence for democracy in Egypt.”

Morsi still faces three other trials on charges including undermining national security by conspiring with foreign groups and orchestrating a prison break. Further, thousands of Brotherhood members are in jail facing various charges, mostly associated with the violent events in August that followed Morsi’s 2013 overthrow.

Morsi is being held at a high security prison near the Mediterranean city of Alexandria. Tuesday’s hearing in a makeshift courtroom was heavily guarded, as hundreds of black-clad riot police backed by armored vehicles were deployed at the police academy.

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