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Former Egyptian President Sentenced to Life, Six Co-defendants Get Death

by VOA News June 18, 2016

An Egyptian court has sentenced former president Mohamed Morsi to another life term in prison for allegedly leaking state secrets.

The court on Saturday also sentenced to death six of Morsi's co-defendants, including two al-Jazeera employees and another reporter. Two other defendants who had worked in Morsi's office were sentenced to life in prison.

All of Saturday's sentences can be appealed. Seven of the 11 defendants, including Morsi, remain in custody.

The two al-Jazeera employees were identified by the judge as news producer Alaa Omar Mohammed and news editor Ibrahim Mohammed Hilal and the third reporter sentenced to death was identified as Asmaa al-Khateib, who worked for Rasd, a media network widely suspected of links to Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood.

Under standard procedure in cases of capital punishment, a judge's recommendation is presented to the office of Egypt's Grand Mufti, the nation's top Muslim theological authority, for endorsement.

There was no immediate comment from al-Jazeera on Saturday's verdicts.

Rights group Amnesty International, however, called for the death sentences to be immediately thrown out and for the "ludicrous charges against the journalists to be dropped."

Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected civilian president and leader of Muslim Brotherhood organization, was ousted by the military in July 2013 and has already been sentenced to death, to life and 20 years in prison in other cases.

The first death sentence and the two other sentences are under appeal.

His Muslim Brotherhood was banned and declared a terrorist organization after his ouster.

Morsi served as the fifth president of Egypt from June 30, 2012 to July 3, 2013.

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