Morsi faces spying charges as third trial to begin

New Straits Times

CAIRO : Deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi was Sunday facing charges of espionage and carrying out “terror attacks” in Egypt, as a third trial against him was due to get under way.

The latest court case is part of a relentless government crackdown  targeting Morsi and his Islamist supporters since he was ousted by the military  on July 3.    

Morsi and 35 others, including former aides and leaders of his Muslim  Brotherhood, are accused “of spying for the international organisation of the  Muslim Brotherhood, its military wing and the (Palestinian) Hamas movement”.

They are also charged with “carrying out terror attacks inside the country  against state property, institutions and their employees to spread chaos”.    If found guilty, the defendants could face the death penalty.

Morsi, who was ousted by the military after a single year of turbulent  rule, is already on trial for his alleged involvement in the killing of  opposition protesters in December 2012.

Along with 130 others, including dozens of members of Hamas and Lebanon’s  Shiite militant movement Hezbollah, Morsi is separately being tried on charges  linked to a jailbreak during the 2011 uprising that toppled strongman Hosni  Mubarak.

The ousted leader is also to be tried separately for “insulting the  judiciary”. A date for that has yet to be set.

During Morsi’s short-lived presidency, ties between Cairo and Hamas, a  Palestinian affiliate of the Muslim Brotherhood which rules the neighbouring  Gaza strip, had flourished.

But since July, Egypt’s military-installed government has accused Hamas of  backing Morsi and his Brotherhood and carrying out terrorists attacks inside  Egypt.

The army has destroyed several hundred tunnels used to ferry crucial  supplies, including fuel, into the blockaded Gaza Strip.

Since Morsi’s ouster, his supporters have faced a relentless crackdown by  Egypt’s government that has left more than 1,400 people dead according to  Amnesty International, and seen thousands more arrested.– AFP


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