The Cassation Court accepted on Saturday the appeal of former president Mohamed Morsi and reduced his sentenced in the “Qatar espionage” case to life in prison, from an original sentence of a total of 40 years.
In June 2016, Morsi was sentenced to life in prison and an additional 15 years by the Cairo Criminal Court. Then, in November of the same year, the Appeals Court ordered a retrial.
The defendants in the case, which include Morsi’s head of office Ahmed Abdel Ati and his presidential secretary Amin El-Sherafy, were accused of leaking national security documents and information related to national security to Qatar.
Another six defendants previously received death sentences after the Grand Mufti argued that the “crimes of the defendants are similar to that of treason” in which punishment should be death.
In September 2014, late Prosecutor General Hesham Barakat had referred the defendants to criminal court on charges of illegally obtaining copies of intelligence reports and confidential reports on the Armed Forces’ plans. They were also accused of intending to deliver the documents to the Qatari satellite network Al Jazeera.
Other than Saturday’s verdict, Morsi has faced three other sentences and is still standing trial in a case where he and others are charged of insulting the judiciary.
He received both a death sentence and a life imprisonment sentence in the “Hamas espionage” trial and the “prison break trial” respectively.
Qatar has been at crossroads of the Egyptian state, which accused the gulf country of supporting the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood group and harbouring its members and affiliates.
Morsi joined the Muslim Brotherhood during his youth and advanced his position in the political arm of the Freedom and Justice Party in 2012. He ran for presidency and became the first democratically elected president in Egypt.
After the ouster of Morsi, the Brotherhood faced a tough legal and physical crackdown, with thousands of the group’s members either standing trial for violence-related charges or spending time in jail.