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Egypt starts Morsi trial for leaking documents to Qatar

Morsi, along with 10 other defendants, are charged with leaking classified documents to Qatar

Ahram Online , Sunday 15 Feb 2015
Morsi trial for leaking documents to Qatar
Ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi stands behind bars with other Muslim Brotherhood members at a court in the outskirts of Cairo, Feb 15, 2015 (Photo: Bassam El-Zogby)

The trial of ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi started Sunday on the grounds of leaking classified documents to Qatar, in the fourth case against the toppled leader.

The court adjourned the case, in which 10 other defendants stand trial, to 28 February.

The prosecution charged Morsi and the head of his office, Ahmed Abdel-Aati, with leaking secret information on general and military intelligence, the armed forces, its armament and other state's policy secrets to harm the country's vital institutions and state security.

The two used their positions to pass the files from the presidency offices to Amin El-Serafy, a presidential secretary, who then passed the documents to his daughter Karima.

Karima then handed the documents to parties of individuals that orchestrated a final delivery operation to the Qataris.

The rest of the defendants, who include Ahmed Afify, a documentary producer; Mohamed Kilany, a flight attendant; Ahmed Ismaiel, a teaching assistant; along with Khaled Radwan and Asmaa el-Khatib- two journalists at pro-Brotherhood TV channels - are charged with turning over the copies of the classified documents to two individuals on the staff of the Qatari-based Al-Jazeera, and an unknown Qatari intelligence officer.

Three of the defendants are tried in absentia.

Some of the defendants allegedly asked for a million dollars from the Al-Jazeera editor and the Qatari officer, in return for the information which they gave them along with an offer of more money.

Other charges include leading and joining an outlawed group- the Brotherhood- which aims at changing the regime with force, attacking army and police posts and public property.

Morsi faces three other trials on charges of espionage, escaping from prisons during the country's 2011 revolution and inciting his supporters to kill protesters opposed to his rule during his time in office.

A security crackdown on Morsi, the Brotherhood, and their supporters have left thousands in jail and facing trials on a variety of charges. Hundreds of Islamists were handed initial death sentences last year that are currently being appealed.

Egyptian and Qatari relations were strained after Morsi's ouster and the rich Gulf nation's hosting and support to fleeing Brotherhood members.

The two countries experienced a recent thaw in relations as a result of a Saudi-sponsored initiative.

Al-Jazeera Mubashir Misr, the Egyptian affiliate of the Doha-based network, recently closed its offices and halted its broadcast, which is one of the reasons that relations between the two countries have started to improve. 

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