Morsi referred to Egypt criminal court in prison escape case

Elsayed Gamal Eldeen, Saturday 21 Dec 2013

In addition to espionage and incitement of murder, the ousted president faces a new trial for jail break in 2011

Ousted former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi gets out of a van as he arrives on the first day of his trial on inciting murdercharges, at a courthouse in Cairo, in this still image taken from video provided by Egypt's Interior Ministry on November 4, 2013. (Photo: Reuters)

An investigative judge referred Saturday morning ousted president Mohamed Morsi and 132 co-defendants to criminal court for escaping from Wadi Al-Natroun Prison during the January uprising of 2011.

Morsi, members of the Palestinian militant group Hamas, the Lebanese Hezbullah and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood are accused of storming prisons and attempted murder of police officers on 28 January 2011.

Titled "The Most Dangerous Terrorism Crime the Country Has Ever Seen," the statement issued by investigative judge Hassan Samir Saturday accused the defendants of the attempted murder and kidnapping of three police personnel, and of detaining them in the Gaza Strip in the wake of the anti-Mubarak 25 January protests, along with other charges including possessing heavy weapons, committing aggressive acts, vandalising government facilities and looting "livestock, poultry and weapons" from prison warehouses.

The statement also accused the international Muslim Brotherhood organisation of plotting a "terrorist plan" in collaboration with Hamas and Hezbollah "to give up part of the Sinai Peninsula for the resettlement of Palestinians from Gaza."

On Thursday, prosecutors released new charges against the ousted president, of "collaborating with foreign organisations to commit terrorist acts in Egypt and revealing defence secrets to a foreign country," also naming Hamas and Hezbullah and running between the period 2005 to 2013.

Morsi is already standing trial on charges of inciting the murder of protesters in the December 2012 presidential palace clashes.

The scope and nature of the charges levied against the ousted president drew international criticism. Human Rights Watch regional director Sarah Leah Whiston was quoted as saying that the charges were "fantastical" and filed without appropriate evidence.

Morsi, Egypr's first democratically elected president, was ousted by the army on 3 July following mass protests against his year-long rule.

Egyptian authorities have since launched a sustained crackdown on his Islamist supporters, with hundreds killed in clashes with security forces and thousands others arrested.

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