An Egyptian court on Tuesday confirmed ousted president Mohamed Morsi’s death sentence for plotting jailbreaks and attacks on policemen during the 2011 uprising that shook the nation.
It also announced a lifetime sentence for the country’s first democratically elected Islamist president Morsi, on charges of spying for Hamas movement of Palestine, Lebanon’s Shi-ite Hezbollah and Iran.
Tuesday’s verdict comes after the court consulted Egypt’s grand mufti, the government interpreter of Islamic law who plays an advisory role.
Earlier, in a separate trial in April, Morsi was sentenced to 20 years in prison for promoting violence against the protestors of a 2012 mass movement while he was the president.
The current president is Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a former army chief who ousted Morsi in 2013 after a mass protest ended Morsi’s one-year divisive stint in power.
Since then, hundreds of Islamists have been killed and 40,000 in jail as Sisi unleashed a crackdown on Morsi’s supporters, according to human rights watch.
Speedy mass trials sentenced hundreds of supporters of Morsi to death, what the United Nations called “unprecedented in recent history.”
The authorities designated Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi’s party as a “terrorist group” and accused it of sparking violence after its government was ousted from power. The movement though denies such accusation.
The Muslim Brotherhood called for protests against the verdict against its leader and supporters on Friday describing the verdicts as “farce trials.” Muslim Brotherhood Freedom and Justice Party spokesman Nader Oman told Al Jazeera that his party was surprised by Tuesday’s verdict.
“I’m surprised because the charges are groundless and there is no chance for any of the defendants to defend themselves,” Oman said.
“The Muslim Brotherhood is an organisation that has gone on for more than 80 years. Imprisoning our leaders will not stop us from fighting.”
Tuesday’s ruling upheld an initial verdict by the same court that sentenced Morsi and 100 of his defendants to death on May 16. After the verdict was announced on Tuesday, the former president, dressed in blue prison uniform, clenched his fists in a sign of defiance and smiled.
Tuesday’s verdict can be appealed.
The European Union described the development as “worrying” as White House said it was “deeply troubled” by the verdict.