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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 (who was still alive at the time) 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

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. During the case, Morsi was assigned a court-appointed lawyer because he refused to hire his own one, due to his belief in the court's illegitimacy. In June 2019, Morsi collapsed and died during a court hearing in the Espionage Case; during his detention, he was reportedly kept in solitary confinement, was not allowed to receive vistors, and did not receive adequate medical care for serious health issues, including diabetes.

Legal & Judicial Implications

Because former president Morsi replaced the prosecutor-general during his presidency and took other measures that reportedly interfered with the independence of the judiciary, there was fear that the Egyptian court system had additional and politicized motivation to be biased against Morsi when trying this case. The significant sentences against Morsi and other Muslim Brotherhood leaders raise questions concerning the discrepancy in accountability for crimes committed by Brotherhood leaders, as opposed to Mubarak and officials formerly serving in his government.