Former president Morsi faces livestock-related accusations

Ahram Online, Saturday 21 Dec 2013

Morsi first faced accusations of overspending on food when president, and is now charged with stealing livestock from prison

Former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi (Photo: AP)

In recent days, ousted president Mohamed Morsi has found himself accused of illegally acquiring poultry and cattle both as a fugitive inmate during Hosni Mubarak's reign, and as Egypt president in 2012-2013.

On Saturday, judicial investigations led to an array of charges against 131 defendants from the Muslim Brotherhood, including Morsi, the group's supreme guide Mohamed Badie, and leading figure Essam El-Errian.

Apart from kidnapping and holding police officers hostage, using heavy artillery, and sabotaging governmental premises, the defendants are also charged with stealing poultry and cattle from jail facilities. A statement on the charges was issued by the office of the judge in charge of the investigations, who is affiliated with the Cairo Appeal Court. The statement announced that Morsi and the other defendants would be referred to the criminal court.

Morsi was incarcerated in Wadi Al-Natroun prison in Nile Delta's Beheira governorate and escaped during the 2011 revolution like many prisoners in different prisons across Egypt. He went on to win Egypt's first free presidential elections in 2012.

However, many charges were pressed against Morsi after he was toppled on 3 July following nationwide mass protests against his rule.  

In addition to Saturday's charges, he faces other livestock-related accusations as president.

A few days ago, lawyer Samir Sabri reportedly filed a complaint against Morsi accusing him of abusing his authority as president to eat, along with his entourage, "ducks, chicken and grilled meat" worth LE3,240,000 during his year-long presidential tenure.

The complaint was based on two reports issued by the State Employees' Monitoring Department, which indicated that food expenses by Morsi's presidency were particularly high, estimated at an average of LE9,000 per day. The daily budget was more than doubled during events.

Morsi is currently being held in Borg Al-Arab prison in the coastal city of Alexandria pending trial.

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