The trial of former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, which saw him jailed for 20 years, produced no evidence of his guilt, a leading human rights group said Sunday.
Morsi was convicted in a Cairo court Tuesday of ordering the use force against protesters outside the presidential palace in December 2012.
Human Rights Watch said its review of the prosecution’s file found little evidence other than the testimony of security officials to support the conviction.
“The prosecution’s case was founded on the conjecture that Morsi was responsible simply because of his relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood,” said the watchdog’s North Africa Director Sarah Leah Whitson.
The Muslim Brotherhood rose to prominence during the popular uprising in 2011 that led to the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak. Since President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, the former army chief, toppled Morsi in 2013 he has pledged to eradicate the Brotherhood and labeled it a terrorist organisation.
A fierce crackdown has left hundreds dead and thousands behind bars.
“Whatever political responsibility Morsi may have, the prosecution didn’t establish his criminal guilt in this case,” Whitson said.
The verdict, which remains subject to appeal, was the first to be issued against Morsi, who faces further charges in three other cases, including an allegation that he leaked intelligence to Qatar.
The watchdog said the allegations against Morsi relied primarily on testimony that “gave no evidence to support” claims of an agreement between Morsi and the Brotherhood to use force against anti-government protesters.
It said prosecutors also failed to investigate the killings of Morsi supporters during the clashes.
“Of the ten people killed that day, only three were included in the prosecutors’ file, creating an appearance that the case was politically motivated against the Brotherhood,” the watchdog said.