Former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, who had been sentenced to 20 years in prison, has received a heavier sentence: A court has prescribed a death sentence for him.
The former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood was ousted by the military in July 2013 in the wake of a mass uprising. He was later sentenced to 20 years in jail for ordering the arrest and torture of protesters during his reign.
Morsi was Egypt’s first freely elected president, but protests began building less than a year into his rule when he issued a decree granting himself far-reaching powers. The authorities have banned his Muslim Brotherhood movement and arrested thousands of his supporters.
All death sentences must first be sent to Egypt’s highest religious authority, the Grand Mufti. But convictions are still open to appeal, even if the Grand Mufti gives his approval.
Morsi’s supporters have said that the cases against him are politically motivated and attempts to give legal cover to a coup, while Morsi has rejected the authority of the courts.