Egypt’s deposed president Mohamed Morsi has had a life sentence overturned by the country’s Court of Cassation, which ordered a retrial in the case that revolves around accusations of espionage with Palestinian group Hamas.
Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president, had a death sentence overturned by the same court last week and a retrial was ordered.
Morsi was overthrown by a military coup in July 2013 after having served just one year of a four-year term.
The organisation to which he belonged, the Muslim Brotherhood, has since been outlawed. A government crackdown on the movement, as well as other groups, has resulted in tens of thousands of arrests and mass trials.
Morsi’s lawyer, Abdel Moneim Abdel Maqsoud, told AFP news agency that the sentences against several Muslim Brotherhood officials, who stood trial
alongside Morsi on charges of spying for Iran and Hamas, were also overturned.
Explaining the recent ruling, Yehia Ghanem, Al Jazeera’s Middle East analyst, said “from a judicial point of view, the court of cassation is the least politicised court in the country”.
“The authorities in Egypt established a special judicial district three years ago to deal mainly with cases of what they call ‘terrorism’, or espionage and other charges that are politicised,” Ghanem said.
This district is where Morsi and thousands of others have been tried, Ghanem adde, and “any opposition in Egypt is now tried under ‘terrorism'”.
Morsi was previously tried on several charges, including one for escaping prison during the 2011 uprising against then-president Hosni Mubarak.