Cairo court issues death sentences in Qatar espionage case

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy arrives at the Chancellery to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on January 30, 2013 in Berlin, Germany.

Cairo (CNN)A Cairo court issued a preliminary death sentence Saturday against six defendants in what's been called the Qatar espionage case, according to Egyptian state media.

Three of the six condemned men were tried in absentia. There are a total of 10 defendants in the case, including ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy. All are accused of leaking classified documents to Qatar.
Morsy, 63, has not yet been sentenced, but it's unlikely that he'll get the death penalty because the sentence must be reviewed by Egypt's Grand Mufti, the country's premier religious legal authority, before a final verdict in the case can be delivered.
    The mufti's opinion is not legally binding but often taken into consideration.
    Morsy, who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood, was removed from his post by Egypt's military in 2013 after large anti-government street protests.
    The verdict in the case will be delivered on June 18, but all the defendants have the option to appeal.
    Rights group Amnesty International has condemned the trials of Morsy and others in the past, calling them a "charade" that demonstrated the "deplorable state" of Egypt's criminal system.
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    This is the fourth court case against Morsy.
    He was already sentenced him to death for collaborating with the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas and the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah to break into several prisons across Egypt in 2011 that facilitated his escape, as well as the escape of 20,000 others.
    The ousted President was also convicted on charges of violence and inciting violence and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for the torture of protesters outside the presidential palace in 2012.
    Last summer, Morsy was given a life sentence, which is 25 years in Egypt, for espionage.