Court orders release of Morsi-era minister, leading Brotherhood figure in espionage case

Tuesday 21 Nov 2017

The minister will remain in custody, however, since he faces charges in other cases where the court has not ordered his release

Mohamed Ali Beshr
File Photo: Leading MB figure Mohamed Ali Beshr (Photo: Al-Ahram)

A Cairo criminal court has ordered the release of former minister of local development Mohamed Ali Beshr, who served under former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, and five others pending trial over espionage charges.

However, the defendants will remain in custody since they are facing charges in other cases where the court has not ordered their release.

Beshr, a leading member of the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood, was among defendants arrested in 2014 on charges of conspiring with the US and Norway to "harm the country and organise protests that aim to disrupt the activities of state institutions."

The six defendants also include Journalists Syndicate member Hassan El-Qabani, who was arrested in 2015.

The High State Security Prosecution charges Beshr and the other defendants with being party to a criminal agreement that aimed to overthrow the government, joining a terrorist group that aims to topple the government and obstruct government administration, as well as harming national unity and social peace.

It is unclear if the prosecution will appeal the court's release order.

Beshr is also among at least 100 defendants facing trial in military court for involvement in the failed assassination attempt of the prosecutor-general's deputy Zakaria Abdel-Aziz in September 2016.

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