Court sentences overthrown Egyptian president to 20 years in prison

This would be the first verdict to be issued against the country's first freely elected leader.

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These are not the best times for sacked Egyptian president, Mohammed Morsi as an Egyptian criminal court has sentenced him to 20 years in prison.

Morsi was sentenced over the killing of protesters in December 2012. Violence had erupted outside the presidential palace which saw Morsi's supporters attack opposition protesters, sparking clashes that killed at least 10 people.

In the wake of the 2011 protests which saw the overthrow of then president, Horsni Mubarak, Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood group swiftly rose to power in the following elections, only to be thrown behind bars a year later when millions protested against them for abusing power and the military overthrew the government.

Ironically, while Mubarak and members of his government increasingly find themselves acquitted of criminal charges, Morsi and the Brotherhood are at the receiving end of heavy-handed sentences.

In addition to Morsi, 12 Brotherhood leaders and Islamist supporters, including Mohammed el-Beltagy and Essam el-Erian, also were sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Meanwhile, AP reports that from his exile in Turkey's capital, Istanbul, top Muslim Brotherhood figure Amr Darrag called the ruling "a sad and terrible day in Egyptian history."

Under the government of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who as army chief overthrew Morsi, Brotherhood members and Islamists have faced mass trials that end with mass death sentences, sparking international condemnation.

Morsi, who is facing 3 other trials on different charges, is being held at a high security prison near Alexandria. His incarceration there followed four months of detention at an undisclosed location.

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