Former Egyptian president and Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Mursi is sentenced to 20 years in prison without parole, nearly three years after he was declared Egypt's first freely elected president. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Cairo's court came down hard on Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood sentencing the leader, Mohamed Mursi, and 12 others to 20 years in prison without parole on Tuesday (April 21). Mursi stood in a court cage as judge Ahmed Sabry Youssef read out the ruling live on state television against him and a dozen others, that also included senior figures Mohamed el-Beltagy and Essam el-Erian. "Mohamed Mohamed Mursi al-Ayat and Mohamed Mohamed Ibrahim al-Beltagy and Essam al-Din Mohamed Hussein al-Arian and Wagdy Abdel Hamid Mohamed Ghoneim, prison for 20 years, with labor, and put under police surveillance for five years, and to pay for criminal procedures, for using force and violence, and the arrest and detention and physical torture," judge Ahmed Sabry Youssef said as defendants were displaying a four-finger salute symbolising resistance to the state's crackdown on Islamists and chanted "God is Greatest". The ruling is the first against Mursi who says he is determined to reverse what he calls a military coup in 2013 staged by then army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. After toppling Mursi following mass protests against his rule, Sisi proceeded to crush the Brotherhood. Egypt's deep state apparatus - the Interior Ministry, intelligence services and army - appears to have a tighter grip than ever on the biggest Arab state. While Mursi has become far less relevant, even within the Brotherhood, Sisi went on to become president, winning over many Egyptians who overlooked widespread allegations of human rights abuses for the sake of stability. Western powers who called for democracy declined to use leverage against Sisi, the latest military man to seize power. Sisi says the Brotherhood is part of a terrorist network that poses an existential threat to the Arab and Western world. The Brotherhood says it is a peaceful movement that will return to office through people power, even though demonstrations have fallen to a trickle. The fall of veteran autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011 paved the way for what was unthinkable for decades - the Brotherhood ruling the most populous Arab country. Mursi, who rose through the ranks of the Brotherhood before winning the presidency in 2012, was a polarising figure during his troubled year in office. His policies alienated secular and liberal Egyptians, who feared that the Brotherhood was abusing power. Protests erupted in late 2012 after Mursi issued a decree expanding presidential powers - a move his supporters say was necessary to prevent a judiciary still packed with Mubarak appointees from derailing a fragile political transition. Those demonstrations led to the deaths of protesters. Prosecutors argue that Mursi and other Brotherhood leaders had encouraged the violence and so are responsible for the bloodshed. Mursi and his co-defendants deny the charges. The Brotherhood survived numerous crackdowns and has been able to gain support through its charities because Egyptians longed for better services under a succession of autocrats. Here are the remaining charges facing Mursi and which he denies:. Organising a mass breakout from a Cairo jail during the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak, as well as kidnapping and killing prison officers. Conspiring with foreign organisations including Palestinian militant group Hamas and Lebanon's Hezbollah to perpetrate violence in the Sinai Peninsula following his overthrow. Endangering national security by leaking state secrets and sensitive documents about weapons systems and state policies to the Al Jazeera television network and Qatar, which supported him as president. Insulting the judiciary.