No new judges allowed in Morsi trial, says Egyptian court
An appeal court has refused to recuse the judges in two cases involving ousted president Mohamed Morsi.
Islamist preacher Safwat Hegazy and senior Muslim Brotherhood member Mohamed Al Beltagy had demanded the recusal of the judges in their trials for espionage and escaping from prison.
They claimed the court was unconstitutional because Morsi was still Egypt's legitimate president, the court had premeditated opinions of the defendants, and one judge had publically stated his opinion about one of the defendants.
The appeal court ordered Hegazy and Al Beltagy to pay LE6,000 ($860) in fines for each of the two recusal cases.
In the prison break trial, the charges are linked to the escape of inmates, including senior Brotherhood figures such as Morsi, from Wadi Al Natroun prison during the early days of the 2011 revolution.
Morsi and 130 co-defendants are accused of "carrying out a plot to bring down the Egyptian state and its institutions."
They are charged with damaging and setting fire to prison buildings, murder, attempted murder, looting prison weapons depots, and allowing prisoners from "Hamas, Lebanon's Hezbollah, jihadists, Brotherhood [members] and other criminals" to escape from jail.
In the espionage trial, Morsi and 35 other leading Brotherhood figures stand accused of collaborating with foreign organisations, namely "Hamas in Gaza," to commit acts of terrorism in Egypt, revealing defence secrets to a foreign country, funding terrorists and organising the training of militants "to achieve the purpose of the international organisation of the Brotherhood," according to a prosecution statement.
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