August 15, 2015 / 11:31 AM / 2 years ago

Egypt's deposed president Mursi appeals death sentence: lawyer

Deposed President Mohamed Mursi greets his lawyers and people from behind bars at a court wearing the red uniform of a prisoner sentenced to death, during his court appearance with Muslim Brotherhood members on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt, June 21, 2015. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

CAIRO (Reuters) - The court-appointed legal team representing deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Mursi filed an appeal on Saturday at the country’s highest court challenging sentences of life imprisonment and death handed down in June, Mursi’s lawyer said.

The Cairo criminal court sentenced Mursi to death over a mass jail break during the 2011 uprising against Hosni Mubarak as well as life imprisonment for giving state secrets to Qatar. It also issued sweeping punishments against the leadership of the Musim Brotherhood, Egypt’s oldest Islamic group.

The general guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Badie, and four other leaders were also handed the death penalty. More than 90 others, including influential cleric Youssef al-Qaradawi, were sentenced to death in absentia.

The sentences were part of a crackdown launched after an army takeover stripped Mursi of power in 2013 following protests against his rule. Hundreds of Islamists have been killed and thousands arrested.

The government has declared the Brotherhood a terrorist group and has accused it of fomenting an Islamist insurgency since Mursi’s removal, but the group has said it is committed to political change through peaceful means only.

Mursi has not appointed a lawyer to defend himself and has refused to recognize the legitimacy of the court proceedings, saying he remains the legitimate president of the country.

The government has said the judiciary is independent and it never intervenes in its work.

Reporting by Mahmoud Mourad and Haitham Ahmed, Writing by Eric Knecht, Editing by Angus MacSwan

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