CAIRO – Ousted former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was sentenced to death for his part in a mass prison break that took place during the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak. Judge Shaaban el-Shami referred his death sentence on Morsi and others to the nation’s top Muslim theologian, or mufti, for his non-binding opinion. He set June 2 for the next hearing, which is customary in Egypt for capital crimes.
Morsi, an Islamist member of the Muslim brotherhood who rose to be Egypt’s first freely elected president, was ousted by the military in July 2013 amid days of mass street protests by Egyptians in response to his consolidation of power. Morsi had promised reforms, but never delivered.
The ousted leader was recently given a 20-year sentence after his April 21 conviction related to charges of killing protesters outside a Cairo presidential palace in December 2012.
In a related case alleging Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood cohorts passed state secrets to foreign governments, the Islamist leader had escaped a death sentence before Judge el-Shami. The groups include the Palestinian militant group Hamas and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, two proxy forces backed by the Shiite Gulf power Iran.