Mohamed Rifaa El-Tahtawi (Photo: Al-Ahram)
Egyptian prosecutors on Tuesday referred Mohamed Morsi’s former chief-of-staff to court on charges of misconduct while holding his official post.
Mohamed Rifaa El-Tahtawi is accused of hiring lawyer El-Sayed Rifai, who had served a prison sentence related to terrorism charges, to occupy the position of expert in public relations for the office of the presidency.
Rifai had served 15 years in prison for charges of joining a terrorist organisation in 1995, possessing weapons, attacking a citizen, using a knife and vandalising cars.
According to prosecution investigations, El-Tahtawi hired the lawyer without checking his background first, which is a mandatory procedure.
Furthermore, the investigations reveal that El-Tahtawi ignored an official report by one of his aides that disclosed the lawyer's criminal background.
The lawyer was referred to court as well.
El-Tahtawi is currently being tried on separate charges of espionage alongside ousted president Morsi and 34 other defendants.
They stand accused of collaborating with foreign organisations to commit acts of terrorism in Egypt, revealing defence secrets to a foreign country, funding terrorists and organising military training "to achieve the purposes of the international organisation of the Brotherhood."
El-Tahtawi is not a member of the Muslim Brotherhood or its political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, from which Morsi hails. He is a former diplomat who served in Iran and was also formerly an official spokesman for Al-Azhar.