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Egyptian court upholds Morsi’s prison sentence

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CAIRO: An Egyptian appeals court upheld on Saturday a 20-year sentence for ousted president Mohamed Morsi, the first final ruling in a string of trials for the deposed Islamist leader.

The Court of Cassation also upheld sentences against eight of his codefendants, including seven who received the same prison term and one who was sentenced to 10 years in prison, a judicial official said.

Morsi had been convicted in April 2015 of involvement in deadly clashes outside the presidential palace during his year in power.

His supporters and protesters had clashed after he issued a decree that placed his decisions beyond judicial review, sparking anger that culminated in mass protests against him in June and July 2013.

The military deposed him on July 3 that year, and he has faced several trials since.

His lawyers are appealing a death sentence in one of his trials, on charges of participating in prison breaks and violence against policemen during the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime president Hosni Mubarak.

Egypt’s first freely elected civilian president, Morsi came to power after Mubarak’s overthrow.

Morsi’s lawyer, Abdelmoneim Abdel Maqsud, said none of the defendants attended Saturday’s court session, with only the lawyers present.

Four other codefendants were initially sentenced in absentia and could not appeal the ruling. International rights groups have denounced the initial trial as a “travesty of justice”.

Morsi was toppled by then army chief and now President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi following mass street protests.

Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood has been blacklisted and targeted in a crackdown that has killed hundreds of his supporters and jailed thousands.

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