Turkish Sunni Scholars condemns Morsi death penalty

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– Sunni Scholars’ Association has called on the Muslim world to protest against the death penalty imposed on Egypt’s first elected president

ISTANBUL –  Association of Sunni Scholars in Turkey has condemned an Egyptian court’s decision to impose the death penalty on Egypt’s first elected President Mohamed Morsi.

“The Islamic world is faced with large and public attacks for the first time,” the Turkey Sunni Scholars Association said Friday.

“The [court’s] decision to impose death penalty on 122 Muslims in Egypt aims to quell further demands of justice and freedom for the Egyptian people,” the association added.

It also called on the Muslims world, nongovernmental organizations and world leaders to defend the rights of Egyptians and protest against the verdict.

On Saturday, an Egyptian court had referred 122 out 166 defendants, including Morsi to the grand mufti to consider possible death sentences against them over charges of jailbreak and espionage.

Cairo said Sunday it rejected all “inappropriate comments” on the country’s court rulings, labeling them an unacceptable interference in Egypt’s internal affairs.

Most death sentences handed by Egyptian courts are commuted into prison terms.

Last year, hundreds of Egyptians were sentenced to death but rulings on only a few dozen were actually upheld, the rest converted into 25-year imprisonment.

The U.S. and the United Nations both expressed concern over the decision Sunday.

Last month, Morsi and 12 codefendants were sentenced to 20 years in prison each for allegedly mobilizing supporters to “intimidate, detain and torture” dozens of anti-Morsi protesters during clashes outside eastern Cairo’s Ittihadiya presidential palace in December 2012.

Morsi currently faces multiple criminal trials on charges that include espionage and “insulting the judiciary,” charges he says are politically motivated.

Since Morsi’s ouster, Egyptian security forces have launched a relentless crackdown on dissent that has targeted both Islamists and secularists, leaving hundreds dead and thousands behind bars.

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