Former Egyptian President Morsy sentenced to 20 years

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CAIRO — Mohamed Morsy went from prison to the presidency. And now he’s going back to prison.

The ousted President was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison Tuesday on charges of inciting violence and facilitating the killing and torturing of protesters outside the presidential palace in December 2012.

The verdict is subject to appeal.

Morsy stood trial with 14 co-defendants, including some of his presidential staff.

Morsy, who became Egypt’s first democratically elected President in June 2012, was deposed by a military coup in July 2013.

After the sentencing, his Freedom and Justice Party called the trial a “travesty of justice.”

“This is a sad and terrible day in Egyptian history,” the party said in a statement Tuesday. “Coup leaders have sentenced Mohamed Morsi to decades in prison for nothing more than championing the democratic will of the people.”

But Ramy Ghanem, a civil plaintiff lawyer representing one of the torture victims, said the conviction was fair.

“This is a very appropriate and clear verdict on people that committed the crime,” he said.

The trial

Attorney Mohamed Selim El-Awa cited constitutional articles to the court that stipulated the steps for removing a president and putting him on trial — something that required the approval of two-thirds of the parliament and a special court made of the country’s top judges.

At various points in the trial, Morsy asserted that he was the President of Egypt and refused to recognize the court as legal.

Early in the trial, Morsy and his co-defendants were held in a metal cage in court. Later, that cage was enclosed in soundproof glass — which became part of the reason Morsy’s defense team withdrew from the case.

More verdicts to come

This is the first trial Morsy was referred to after his removal from power. He is also standing trial in three other cases, including two on charges of espionage.

The third trial involves a 2011 jailbreak. Morsy and 18 other members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood allegedly broke out of the Wadi-Natroun prison, Egyptian state-run media reported.

In that trial, Morsy and his co-defendants are accused of collaborating with the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas and the Lebanese Shia group Hezbollah to escape, the state-owned Ahram Online news agency said.

In May, Morsy is scheduled to start a fifth trial — this one on charges of insulting the judiciary.

By Sarah Sirgany and Holly Yan

CNN

Sarah Sirgany reported from Cairo; Holly Yan reported and wrote from Atlanta. CNN’s Bharati Naik contributed to this report.