(The Daily Mail) – The former president of Egypt has been sentenced to death over a series of mass prison breaks in 2011. Mohamed Morsi, who served from June 2012 until July 2013, was among more than 100 defendants who were given the same sentence. He raised his fists in defiance as the judge read his verdict.
Many of those tried were absent including prominent Islamic cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who resides in Qatar.
Meanwhile, shortly after the sentencing, gunmen shot dead three Egyptian judges in Sinai, police said. It has not been confirmed if these events are linked.
Death sentences in Egypt are passed on to the Grand Mufti – the government’s interpreter of Islamic law – for his opinion on whether they should stand. The convictions are open to appeal and the court will pronounce its final decision on June 2.
Morsi was spared the death sentence in the first of two trials that concluded on Thursday, in which the court advised death sentences for 16 other defendants.
They had been charged with colluding with foreign powers to destabilise Egypt.
The court will pronounce the verdicts for Morsi and the remaining 18 defendants in that trial at a later date.
In the second trial Morsi and 128 defendants were accused of plotting jail breaks and attacks on police during the uprising that overthrew president Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
Many of the defendants are Palestinians alleged to work with Hamas in neighbouring Gaza.
They were alleged to have colluded with Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood to carry out attacks in Egypt in what prosecutors claimed was a vast conspiracy.
It comes after an Egyptian court sentenced Morsi to 20 years in prison in April for abuses against protesters.