An Egyptian appeals court on Tuesday quashed one of two life sentences handed down against ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi since his 2013 overthrow, his lawyer and a judicial source said.
It is the second appeals victory in a week for Morsi, whose Muslim Brotherhood movement has been blacklisted and subjected to a crackdown that has killed hundreds of his supporters and seen thousands jailed or sentenced to death.
Last week, the same court overturned a death sentence handed down against him on charges of taking part in prison breaks and violence against policemen during a 2011 uprising that toppled longtime strongman Hosni Mubarak.
The courts’ handling of the cases against Morsi and his supporters, many of whom have been convicted after mass trials lasting just days, has drawn criticism from the United Nations, Western governments and human rights groups.
Tuesday’s ruling by the Court of Cassation also quashed the sentences against several Brotherhood officials who stood trial alongside him on charges of spying for Iran and Palestinian militant group Hamas, lawyer Abdel Moneim Abdel Maqsoud told media.
The court ordered a retrial, Abdel Maqsoud said, adding: “The verdict was full of legal flaws.”
From next Monday, the same court is to start reviewing a second life sentence handed down against Morsi in a separate trial on charges of stealing documents relating to national security and handing them over to Qatar, a longstanding supporter of the Brotherhood.
Last month, it upheld a 20-year jail sentence handed down against Morsi on charges of ordering the use of deadly force against protesters during his year in power.
Last week’s decision quashing the death sentence enabled Morsi to stop wearing the red uniform reserved for death row prisoners, his lawyer said.
Five co-defendants, including Brotherhood supreme guide Mohamed Badie, who also received death sentences, are to be retried too.
Morsi was Egypt’s first freely elected leader but his year in power proved deeply divisive and he was overthrown by then army chief and now President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi following mass street protests.