UPDATED: Egypt court orders Morsi detention over Hamas collaboration

El-Sayed Gamaledine , Friday 26 Jul 2013

Former president Mohamed Morsi to be detained for 15 days pending investigations into alleged collaboration with Hamas over prison breaks and attacks during 2011 uprising, Brotherhood condemns decision

president Mohamed Morsi (Photo: Reuters)
Ousted president Mohamed Morsi (Photo: Reuters)

A top Egyptian court has ordered the detention of ousted president Mohamed Morsi for 15 days pending investigations into his suspected collaboration with Palestinian Islamist group Hamas.

Morsi is accused of collaborating with Hamas to escape from Wadi El-Natroun Prison and destroy prison records during the 2011 uprising, attack police stations during the uprising, the intentional killing and abduction of police officers and prisoners during the uprising, and espionage.

President Mohamed Morsi along with dozens of members of his Muslim Brotherhood escaped from prison during the 18-day 2011 uprising which forced out his predecessor Hosni Mubarak.

Brotherhood spokesman Ahmed Aref said the decision by the investigating judge to detain Morsi was at the behest of the armed forces due to the pressures they are facing to release Morsi.

In exclusive statements to Al-Ahram Arabic news website, Aref said he believed the decision to detain Morsi was a message to the international community that Morsi is being prosecuted.

"Is there a lawyer attending the investigations with Dr Morsi? Was Dr Morsi given a chance to defend himself? Where is Dr Morsi in the first place? And was he transferred to the investigating judge or did the judge go to him?" Aref asked.

Leading Brotherhood member Essam El-Erian said the decision to detain Morsi showed Egypt has a true "fascist military regime."

"Announcing a decision to detain a legitimate president who has immunity, who should not stand trial except under specific constitutional procedures, under very suspicious timing in the absence of the simplest concepts of the rule of law as well in the absence of his lawyer, shows the nature of the current struggling fascist military regime," said El-Erian on his official Facebook page earlier Friday.

"The answer to this will be peaceful million man protests in the squares. Our strength is in our peacefulness and our unity as a people against fascism, oppression and corruption," said El-Erian.

On 28 January 2011, known as the "Day of Rage" of the revolution, about 11,000 detainees escaped from the Wadi El-Natroun Prison, northwest of the capital, and thirteen people died during the breakout.

The Palestinian Hamas, an offshoot of the Brotherhood, and Lebanese Hezbollah had been blamed for helping in plotting the attack on the jail, allowing the inmates to be freed.

Hamas also criticised the decision to detain Morsi.

"Hamas condemns this move since it is based on the premise that the Hamas movement is hostile," spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told AFP.

The detention order came hours before millions of Egyptians were expected to hit the streets for rival mass rallies, heightening fears they could turn violent.

Army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi called for protests to give the military a "mandate" to confront “violence and terrorism” triggered by Morsi's overthrow.

Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, meanwhile, called its own counter rallies to demand the deposed president's reinstatement.

Mohamed Morsi has been held incommunicado at a secret location since he was removed from the presidency by the army on 3 July following mass nationwide protests.

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