Egypt’s Morsi to be tried for ‘espionage’


CAIRO: Egypt’s deposed president Mohamed Morsi and ex-aides will stand trial for “espionage” that helped a “terrorist” campaign involving the Palestinian militant Hamas and jihadists, the pro-secution said on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila).

If found guilty, they could face the death penalty.

Morsi, an Islamist toppled by the military in July after a single year of turbulent rule, is already on trial for his alleged involvement in the killings of opposition protesters.

Prosecutors had been inves-tigating his alleged links to Hamas during mass prison breaks in an early 2011 uprising against ousted strongman Hosni Mubarak, when Morsi and other Islamist prisoners escaped.

He and 35 others, including former aides and leaders of his Muslim Brotherhood, now stand accused of “espionage for foreign organizations abroad to commit terrorist attacks in the country,” a state prosecution service statement said.

Those groups, according to the prosecution’s investigation, inclu-ded Hamas and the militant Leba-nese Hezbollah movement, it said.

Some defendants, including Essam Haddad, Morsi’s second in command when president, were also accused of betraying state secrets to Iran’s Revolu-tionary Guards.

The prosecution also alleged Muslim Brotherhood involvement in a surge of attacks on soldiers and police following Morsi’s overthrow, centered mostly in the restive Sinai Peninsula.

Some of the attacks, which have killed dozens of members of the security forces, were claimed by al-Qaeda-inspired groups with no known links to the more moderate Muslim Brotherhood.

But prosecutors say the intention of the attacks was to “bring back the deposed president and to bring Egypt back into the Muslim Brotherhood’s grip.”

The defendants include the Brotherhood’s supreme guide Mohamed Badie and other top Islamists, who are already on trial for allegedly inciting violence.



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