Morsi Gets 20 Years

Morsi Gets 20 YearsMorsi Gets 20 Years

Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi was sentenced to 20 years in prison on charges arising from the killing of protesters on Tuesday, nearly three years after he became Egypt’s first freely elected president.

Morsi stood in a cage in court as judge Ahmed Sabry Youssef read out the ruling against him and 12 other Brotherhood members, including senior figures Mohamed el-Beltagy and Essam el-Erian. The sentencing was broadcast live on state television.

The men were convicted on charges of violence, kidnapping and torture stemming from the killing of protesters during demonstrations in 2012. They were acquitted of murder charges, which carry the death sentence, Reuters said in a report.

Hearing the verdict, Morsi and the other defendants gave a four-fingered salute, a symbol of the deadly clearance of Brotherhood supporters at the Rabaah al-Adawiya mosque in 2013.

The ruling is the first against Morsi, who says he is determined to reverse a military coup in 2013 staged by then army chief, now president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

After toppling Morsi, Sisi proceeded to crush the Brotherhood, which he says is part of a “terrorist network” that poses an “existential threat” to the Arab and western worlds.

  Travesty of Justice

“His trial has been a travesty of justice, which has been scripted and controlled by the government and entirely unsupported by evidence,” Amr Darrag, a former minister under Morsi, said in a statement from Istanbul.

A lawyer for some of the defendants said they would appeal.

The Brotherhood says it is a peaceful movement that will return to office through people power, even though demonstrations have fallen to a trickle.

On Monday, a court sentenced 22 Muslim Brotherhood supporters to death for an attack on a police station in Cairo, part of an ongoing crackdown against the Islamist movement.

Egypt’s deep state apparatus -- the interior ministry, intelligence services and army -- now appears to have a tighter grip than ever on the biggest Arab state.

Sisi became president in an election in which many Egyptians overlooked widespread allegations of human rights abuses against him. Western powers that called for democracy declined to use leverage against Sisi, the latest military man to seize power.

Morsi was Egypt’s first freely-elected president following the fall of veteran autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011. But protests began building in 2012, less than a year in office when he issued a decree expanding presidential powers -- a move his supporters say was necessary to prevent a judiciary still packed with Mubarak appointees from derailing a fragile political transition.