Egypt's then president Mohamed Morsi reviews the troops in an official ceremony before a meeting with Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia in this May 8, 2013 file photo. An Egyptian court sentenced Morsi to 20 years in prison without parole on Tuesday for the killing of protesters in December 2012, in a decision broadcast on state television. It was the first ruling against Muslim Brotherhood leader Morsi since the army toppled him in 2013 after mass protests against his rule. The decision can be appealed. [Photo/Agencies]
CAIRO - An Egyptian Court on Tuesday sentenced former Islamist President Mohammed Morsi to 20 years in prison over ordering the arrest and torture of protesters in 2012.
Cairo Criminal Court has also sentenced 12 Muslim Brotherhood leading members to 20 years in prison, while two others received 10-year imprisonment terms in the same case.
Tuesday's court ruling, which is appealable, is the first against the deposed leader, who has been standing trials since his ouster over a number of charges, including the 2011 jailbreak, ordering the killing of anti-Brotherhood protesters, insulting the judiciary, espionage and leakage of classified documents to a foreign country.
In the said case, Morsi along with the other defendants are accused of ordering the arrest and torture of protesters during demonstrations outside a presidential palace in Cairo in 2012.
Meanwhile, the court acquitted Morsi and the 14 other defendants of a more serious charge, namely ordering and inciting the killing of protesters, whose penalty could reach a capital punishment.
Also on Tuesday, another Egyptian criminal court but outside Cairo sentenced 11 of Morsi's loyalists from two to six years in prison while acquitted 134 others of charges of inciting riot and violence.
Morsi was overthrown by the military in July 2013 after a mass protest against his one-year reign and his Brotherhood group. His ouster was followed by a massive security crackdown against his loyalists, which left about 1,000 of them killed and thousands more arrested.
Since Morsi's removal, terrorist activities mounted in the most populous Arab country, leaving hundreds of police and army personnel killed in anti-government attacks carried out by extremists, self-proclaimed Islamists.The new leadership under former military chief and now President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi blacklisted the Brotherhood as "a terrorist organization" after a number of anti-government blasts since Morsi's ouster.
The group's top chief Mohamed Badie, who is also in custody, has been sentenced to death more than once and is currently wearing the execution red uniform while detained in prison, but none of the death verdicts against him has been carried out yet.