U.S. 'Deeply Concerned' Over Morsi Death Sentence Bid by Egyptian Court

Ousted Egyptian president was sentenced to death on charges of breaking out of prison and passing along state secrets.

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Morsi sits in a defendant cage in the Police Academy courthouse in Cairo, Egypt.  May 8, 2014.
Morsi sits in a defendant cage in the Police Academy courthouse in Cairo, Egypt. May 8, 2014.Credit: AP

The United States is "deeply concerned" about an Egyptian court decision to seek the death penalty for former President Mohamed Morsi, a State Department official said on Sunday.

Ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi was sentenced by a Cairo court to death on Saturday, on charges of breaking out of prison during Egypt’s uprising four years ago, as well as for passing along state secrets.

"We are deeply concerned by yet another mass death sentence handed down by an Egyptian court to more than 100 defendants, including former President Morsi," the official said after the court's ruling was announced on Saturday, drawing condemnation from rights group Amnesty International.

"We have consistently spoken out against the practice of mass trials and sentences, which are conducted in a manner that is inconsistent with Egypt's international obligations and the rule of law," the official said.

The case, like any capital sentence, will be referred to Egypt's top religious authority, the Grand Mufti, for any opinion before any executions can take place.

A final decision is expected on June 2.

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