In a new court ruling, the Court of Cassation overturned the death sentence of former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi and ordered a retrial.
Morsi first came into power in 2012 as the first democratically elected president. Despite this apparent gain for the people, Morsi quickly fostered a great deal of resentment among Egyptians. He was accused of becoming increasingly authoritarian and exploiting his power to push for a more Islamic rule of law. At the same time, Egypt found itself in the middle of economic turmoil, thus further aggravating civilians. On June 30, 2013, the anniversary of his inauguration, Egyptians took to the streets to protest his rule, eventually culminating in a coup d’état that formally removed Morsi from his position of power. Upon his overthrow, Morsi faced charges of inciting violence, prison outbreaks, espionage, and leaking classified documents.
To open up Morsi’s trial again, however, is not to grant automatic freedom for the ex-president. The ex-president is still serving life sentences on the various charges. According to Khaled Nashar, the spokesman for the Ministry of Justice, “Mr. Morsi may again be given the death sentence.”
Even so, it is unlikely that in the event another death sentence is passed, the penalty will actually occur. The mere overturn of this death sentence symbolizes a reluctance on the part of the Egyptian government to execute leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic organization to which Morsi belonged to. Now classified as a terrorist organization, the Muslim Brotherhood has been under severe attack since Morsi’s deposition, leading to the arrest, execution, and exile of many of its members. Despite this, the organization continues to retain a certain degree of public support.
Since Morsi’s deposition, Egypt has been under President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi. However, the continued existence of economic and social inequalities has also led to growing protests of the incumbent president. Until these disparities are addressed, Egypt just might see itself embroiled in yet another transfer of power- a transfer that may not be peaceful.