Delivered in absentia, the ruling also sentences two other people to death for same convictions
An Egyptian court on Sunday sentenced to death in absentia radical Islamic preacher Wagdi Ghoneim for establishing an illegal organization that incited violence against security forces, officials said.
The criminal court in Cairo also sentenced to death two other people, who are in detention, for the same convictions, a security and a judicial official said. Five others were sentenced to life in prison—25 years in Egypt—two of them in absentia, the officials said.
The verdicts can be appealed.
Ghoneim, known for his inflammatory statements including against Egypt’s Christian minority, campaigned against the military-led ouster of former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013. The radical preacher left Egypt after Morsi’s ouster at a time when the authorities were launching a crackdown against supporters of Morsi, who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood.
Ghoneim sparked controversy on a visit to Tunisia in 2012 by saying that “seculars and liberals” are “apostates,” and describing female genital mutilation as an “aesthetic operation.” He served as a preacher in California between 2001 and 2005 before being forced to leave, officially because he had overstayed his visa. After that he lived mainly in Yemen and Qatar, and he also was barred from entering Britain, allegedly for encouraging acts of terrorism.
Egyptian courts have sentenced hundreds of Morsi supporters to death since his overthrow, but many have appealed and won new trials. Morsi and other top figures of his Muslim Brotherhood have also faced trial.