Egypt court upholds life sentence for Mursi in Qatar case

This file photo taken on June 18, 2016 shows Egypt's ousted president Mohamed Morsi, wearing a red uniform, gesturing from behind the defendant's bars during his trial on espionage charges at a court in Cairo. (AFP)
Updated 18 September 2017

Egypt court upholds life sentence for Mursi in Qatar case

CAIRO: A top court has upheld a life sentence against Egypt’s ousted President Mohammed Mursi on charges stemming from a trial over spying for Qatar, a judicial official and his lawyer said.
The court of cassation upheld a life sentence first passed in June 2016 on the charge of leading an illegal group but threw out a 15-year sentence on the charge of having stolen secret documents, said his lawyer Abdel Moneim Abdel Maqsud.
A life sentence in Egypt amounts to 25 years in prison, and the court’s rulings cannot be appealed.
Mursi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president, was overthrown by the military in July 2013 following mass protests against his one-year rule.
The court also upheld death sentences for documentary producer Ahmed Ali Abdo, EgyptAir cabin crew member Mohamed Adel Kilani and university teaching assistant Ahmed Ismail Thabet, as well as a life term and 15 years for two others, the official said.
The trial hinged on accusations that the defendants had passed on state secrets to Qatar.
Qatar has denied the charges.

Mursi, who came to power after the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime strongman Hosni Mubarak, was elected in 2012 and ruled for a year before his ouster.
His year in office was divisive and millions had taken to the streets demanding his resignation before the army toppled and detained him.
He has been sentenced separately to 20 years in prison over deadly clashes between protesters and security forces outside his palace in December 2012.
A court overturned a death sentence in another trial over prison breaks and violence during the 2011 revolt, pending a retrial.

Following Mursi’s overthrow, a police crackdown killed hundreds of protesters who supported him.
Since his ouster, Egypt has been battling an insurgency by a Daesh affiliate based in North Sinai that has killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers and dozens of Coptic Christians.
Courts have sentenced hundreds of extremists to death, including other Muslim Brotherhood leaders, though many have appealed and been granted new trials.
A veteran activist and engineering professor, Mursi emerged as a compromise candidate for the Brotherhood to field in Egypt’s first democratic presidential election in 2012.
He narrowly won the vote but was soon accused of failing to represent all Egyptians and of trampling the ideals of the anti-Mubarak uprising.

US troops in Saudi Arabia facing Iran's 'real regional conflict'

Updated 32 min 45 sec ago

US troops in Saudi Arabia facing Iran's 'real regional conflict'

  • Wall Street Journal report from Prince Sultan Air Base shows American troops preparing to defend against Iranian attacks
  • Base south of Riyadh houses Patriot missile batteries to shore up Saudi air defenses

RIYADH: US officers deployed at a base in Saudi Arabia have spoken about the new threat posed from Iran to the Kingdom and the region as a whole.

About 2,500 troops are now based at the Prince Sultan Air Base after the US decided to return a large military presence to the Kingdom last summer after almost 17 years.

The base, south east of Riyadh, stations F-15 fighter jets that fly missions against Daesh over Iraq and Syria and Patriot missile batteries, to help defend from Tehran’s attacks, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“We face a thinking enemy that is playing a real regional conflict for keeps, and they’re very good,” Gen. John Walker, the commander of the 378th Air Expeditionary Wing at the base, said of Iran.

A series of attacks in the region last year have been blamed on Iran, including simultaneous missile and drone strikes on two major Saudi oil installations in September.

US defense officials say they have shored up air defenses since the attack that temporarily halted 5 percent of global oil supplies, the Journal reported.

“Regardless of how inexpensive the drone may be, the impact of the damage the drone may cause outweighs what we would consider to be cost- or not-cost-effective in terms of the Patriot missile system,” Lt. Col. Tom Noble, who commands an air-defense battalion at the base said.

Facilities at the base continue to develop with a new road servicing the US area. Tents are being replaced with trailers and a security barrier around the perimeter of the base has also been built, the report said.

More than half a million American troops were sent to Saudi Arabia following Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990. The US  withdrew most of its forces from the Kingdom following the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited American troops at the base after talks with King Salman.