A Cairo court sentenced ousted President Mohamed Morsi to death Saturday on charges of conspiring with foreign militants to break out of prison during Egypt’s uprising four years ago.
The verdict, which can be appealed, marks a stunning blow to the pro-democracy revolt that saw thousands of Egyptians rise up against an increasingly corrupt police state.
Security forces had arrested Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, during the 18-day rebellion, and he escaped from prison several days later. He was then elected president in the country’s first free and fair democratic elections, before Egypt’s military ousted the Islamist leader in a dramatic coup.
But Saturday’s verdict appeared to criminalize the events of the 2011 uprising, alleging that Morsi and fellow Islamists conspired with Hamas and Hezbollah operatives to escape incarceration and stage a violent revolt against the state.