European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton (Photo: Reuters)
The lawyer for ex-president Mohamed Morsi called on Sunday for the testimony of EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in the espionage case of his client.
During a court session, lawyer Montaser El-Zayat asked the jury to task the EU commission in Cairo with acquiring the testimony of Ashton, who visited Morsi following his ouster. Morsi was detained incommunicado at the time.
Including Morsi, 36 defendants are accused of collaborating with Hamas to commit acts of terrorism in Egypt, of revealing defence secrets to a foreign country, funding terrorists and organising militant training to achieve the purpose of the international organisation of the Brotherhood.
El-Zayat also called for the testimony of Mohamed Fayek, head of the National Council for Human Rights, who also paid a visit to Morsi in his detention during the same period.
He has been seeking to dismiss charges against his client based on the argument that his detention was illegal and thus all procedures taken afterwards are also void.
He submitted as evidence a TV statement by interior minister Mohamed Ibrahim early in November saying that Morsi was not subject to prison regulations because he was detained in a military facility, which, El-Zayat said, is illegal.
Yet, head of State Security Prosecution, Emad Sharawy, said during the session that Morsi's whereabouts when he was first toppled does not affect the case because the defendant's life was in danger and exceptions are allowed.
El-Zayat first pushed in this direction when recordings, allegedly of top military leaders discussing how to manipulate the legal status of his detention, appeared on YouTube early this month.
According to the leaks, whose authenticity has not been independently established, Morsi was being held in a military facility while he should have been held in an interior ministry facility, as he was being tried in front of a civilian court.
While the prosecutor general declared the recording fabricated, El-Zayat is calling for an independent committee to examine them.
Morsi was ousted on 3 July 2013, after one year in office, following three-day of mass protests. Since his ouster, his group, the Muslim Brotherhood, was labelled terrorist by the cabinet. Many of his supporters have since been arrested and prosecuted.