A Cairo court’s verdict that led to Egypt’s first democratically-elected president being sentenced to 20 years in prison does not adhere to the principles of justice, Human Rights Watch said Tuesday.
Mohamed Morsi was found guilty, along with 12 co-defendants, of inciting the murder of demonstrators during clashes between his supporters and opponents outside eastern Cairo’s Ittihadiya presidential palace in December 2012.
“It is disturbing that Morsi and his top aides may have known about the abuse and interrogation of protesters at the gates of his presidential palace, but prosecutors failed to present any evidence that Morsi planned for the clashes or abuse to happen,” Sarah Leah Whitson, director of the Middle East and North Africa division at Human Rights Watch, told The Anadolu Agency.
“That lack of evidence, compounded by serious due process violations and the one-sided failure to investigate those who killed Morsi’s supporters, renders the case against the former president an injustice,” she said.
Tuesday’s verdict, which remains subject to appeal, was the first to be issued against Morsi since his ouster and detention by the army in mid-2013.
Since then, he has been slapped with numerous criminal charges, which he and his supporters insist are politically motivated.
Morsi was ousted by the military in July 2013 after just one year in office, following protests against his presidency.
Since his removal, Egyptian authorities have launched a relentless crackdown on dissent that has largely targeted Morsi’s Islamist supporters, leaving hundreds dead and thousands behind bars.