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Ettehadiya Presidential Palace Clashes Case

Court / Presiding Judge

First Review: Cairo Criminal Court/Judge Ahmed Sabry Youssef
Second Review: Court of Cassation/Judge Othman Metwally

Procedural History

Although police referred a number of individuals to trial shortly after the events, former president Muhammad Morsi and a number of other Brotherhood leaders were not joined in the case until June 2013. The court issued its verdict on April 21, 2015. On October 22, 2016, the Court of Cassation denied an appeal submitted by some of the defendants, including Morsi, thus affirming the sentences issued upon first review.

Verdict

Former president Muhammad Morsi and 12 other defendants were sentenced to 20 years in prison, and two other defendants were sentenced to 10 years in prison. The sentences were affirmed by the Court of Cassation thereafter.

Summary of Reasoning

This case dates back to the clashes that took place outside the Ettehadiya Presidential Palace in December 2012 after former President Muhammad Morsi unilaterally issued a constitutional declaration on November 22, 2012. The defendants were found innocent of premeditated murder and the possession of unlicensed weapons, but guilty of inciting violence. They were sentenced after the court determined that they ordered the arrest and torture of demonstrators outside the Presidential Palace in the December 2012 clashes.

Anecdotal Notes

The initial verdict was the first issued against former president Morsi following his ousting. Although Morsi indicated an interest in addressing the court in its final sessions, the court denied him this opportunity. Further, Morsi had been assigned a court-appointed lawyer because he had refused to hire his own lawyer owing to disagreements he had regarding the legitimacy of the court.

Legal & Judicial Implications

Because former president Morsi had replaced the prosecutor-general during his presidency and had taken other measures that interfered with the independence of the judiciary, there is fear that the Egyptian court system has additional and politicized motivation to be biased against Morsi when trying this case. The decision not to allow him to address the court despite a willingness to allow former president Mubarak to address the court during his trial raises questions on whether the former president received fair and adequate due process considerations. The significant sentences against former Morsi and other Muslim Brotherhood leaders also raise questions on the discrepancy for accountability for crimes committed by Brotherhood leaders as opposed to Mubarak officials.