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Egyptian Court awards death sentence to two Al-Jazeera employees

An Egyptian court awarded death sentence to six people on Sunday, including two Al-Jazeera employees, for passing documents related to national security to Qatar and the Doha-based TV network during President Mohammed Morsi's regime.

Egyptian Court awards death sentence to two Al-Jazeera employees

Morsi, the top defendant, and two of his aides were given jail term of 25 years for membership in the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood group but were acquitted of espionage, a capital offense. Morsi and his secretary, Amin el-Sirafy, each received an additional 15-year sentence for leaking official documents. El-Sirafy's daughter, Karima, was also awarded 15 years on the same charge.

Morsi was the first freely elected leader of Egypt but he was ousted by military coup in July 2013. He has already been sentenced to death in another case. That death sentence and another two life and 20 years in prison - are under appeal. The government had banned Brotherhood and it was declared a terrorist organization after his ouster.

Khalid Radwan, a producer at a Brotherhood-linked TV channel, received a 15-year prison sentence. All of Saturday's verdicts can be appealed. Of the case's 11 defendants, seven, including Morsi, are in custody.

Amnesty International demanded that death sentences to be immediately thrown out and for the "ludicrous charges against the journalists to be dropped."

The two Al-Jazeera employees - news producer Alaa Omar Mohammed and news editor Ibrahim Mohammed Hilal - were sentenced to death in absentia along with Asmaa al-Khateib, who worked for Rasd, a media network which is believed to have links to Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood.

Al-Jazeera condemned the verdicts and said: "This sentence is only one of many politicized sentences that target Al Jazeera and its employees. They are illogical convictions and legally baseless. Al Jazeera strongly denounces targeting its journalists and stands by the other journalists who have also been sentenced."