Morsi 'jailbreak' trial adjourned to 23 August

Ahram Online , Monday 18 Aug 2014

Court heard witnesses recount details of Morsi and other Brotherhood leaders' escape from prison during the 2011 revolution

Egypt's ousted President Mohammed Morsi stands inside a glassed-in defendant's cage during his trial on charges related to the prison breaks at the height of the 18-day 2011 uprising against his predecessor Hosni Mubarak, Jan. 28, 2014 (AP Photo)

A Cairo criminal court on Sunday adjourned to 23 August the trial of Mohamed Morsi and a number of other Muslim Brotherhood leaders on charges of breaking out of prison in 2011.

Prosecutors have charged the 131 defendants with damaging and setting fire to prison buildings, murder, attempted murder and looting prison weapon depots while helping prisoners from Gaza's Hamas and Lebanon's Hezbollah along with jihadists, Brotherhood [members] and other criminals to break out of jails.

The charges are linked to the escape of inmates, including Morsi, from Wadi El-Natroun prison and other prisons during the early days of the January 2011 revolution.

Monday's hearing included eye-witness testimonies of the prison break. Witnesses narrated details including an excavator vehicle being driven into a prison wall to free the prisoners, and prisoners stealing prison assets including walkie-talkies, electronic equipment, and prisoners' belongings.

Eye-witnesses also recalled masked gunmen at the scene who killed prison guards while freeing the prisoners, Al-Ahram's Arabic website reported.

During the hearing, Brotherhood figure Mohamed El-Beltagy requested he be allowed to undergo surgery in a Cairo hospital which he said was the prison hospital was not able to provide.

The court ordered a medical check-up for El-Beltagy, a physician, to determine whether the surgery was required.

Morsi and other members say they were freed from prison by local residents, and Hamas has denied that it planned or took part in the break.

Morsi, who was removed from power by the army in July 2013 amid nationwide protests against his year-long rule, also faces a number of other charges in separate trials, including espionage and inciting the murder and torture of opposition protesters outside the presidential palace in December 2012.

The espionage case was adjourned on Sunday to 14 September.

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