Egypt’s former President Mohamed Mursi was jailed for life, while six people, including two Al-Jazeera staff members, had death sentences affirmed by a Cairo criminal court in a case linked to passing state secrets to Qatar.

The death sentences had been referred to the Grand Mufti, the government’s top religious official, for ratification. Mursi and two others who served in the government during his one-year presidency were given the standard life sentence. The verdicts can be appealed.

The judge, Mohamed Fahmy, said religious authorities who reviewed the case found that what the defendants had “surpassed espionage,” because what they accomplished no spy could have done.

The two Jazeera journalists were identified as Alaa Omar Mohamed and Ibrahim Mohamed Helal. They were tried in absentia.

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