An Egyptian court on Tuesday cancelled the life sentences handed out to former president Mohamed Morsi and Muslim Brotherhood chief Mohamed Badie along with 15 other leaders of the banned group in an espionage case and ordered a retrial. The court also cancelled death sentences handed out to 16 other Muslim Brotherhood members, including top leaders Khyrat el-Sharer and Mohamed el-Beltagy Ahmed Abdel Aty. Thirteen of the 16 were sentenced in absentia.
The defendants were accused of spying, funding terrorism and disclosing national security.
The decision comes just days after an Egyptian criminal court confirmed a 20-year prison sentence handed out to Morsi for inciting violence during demonstrations in 2012, the first final verdict in a case against the former president.
Eight other defendants were sentenced to prison terms of up to 20 years in the case. Their appeals were refused too.
Morsi is currently in prison over other cases including for escaping from prison during the January 25 Revolution in 2011, insulting the judiciary and handing documents of national security importance to Qatari intelligence through the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera news channel.
The former president has said he does not recongnise the trials he faces.
Morsi, who became Egypt’s president in June 2012 after the first democratic elections in the country, was ousted in a military coup after a year in power following mass protests against his rule.