Morsi's espionage trial set to begin Feb. 16
A Cairo appeal court ordered on Tuesday deposed president Mohamed Morsi to stand trial on Feb. 16 over allegations he collaborated with Hamas, Hezbollah and other organisations to commit terrorist acts in Egypt.
According to an earlier statement by the prosecutor-general's office, Morsi and 35 co-defendants – including prominent members of his Muslim Brotherhood and former presidential advisers – all face trial for allegedly collaborating with foreign organisations to commit acts of terror in Egypt, revealing defense secrets to a foreign country, funding terrorists, and military training "to achieve the purposes of the international organisation of the Brotherhood."
The statement specifically accused Brotherhood leaders of collaborating with Gaza rulers Hamas, Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah and other organisations "inside and outside" Egypt to smuggle arms, organise military training for group members in the Gaza Strip, and fund a scheme to stir chaos and threaten national security in Egypt.
Prosecutors also accuse the Brotherhood of sponsoring terrorist attacks against army and police targets in the Sinai Peninsula -- which borders Israel and Gaza -- following Morsi's ouster.
Hamas leaders have frequently denied being linked to any unrest in Egypt.
The statement added that Morsi's presidential aides, including his national security advisor Essam El Haddad, had divulged secret reports to the international organisation of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards as well as Hezbollah in return for their cooperation in terrorist operations.
The charges against the defendants span the period between 2005 and 2013.
Nineteen of the defendants, including Morsi, are already behind bars. The prosecutor has issued an arrest warrant for the remaining 17.
Morsi, Egypt's first freely-elected president and a Brotherhood leader, was ousted on 3 July by the military amid mass protests against his troubled one-year rule.
He currently stands trial for incitement to murder and violence during clashes between his supporters and opponents at the Ittihadiya Presidential Palace on 4 December 2012. The clashes resulted in the murder of eight people, including at least four Brotherhood members.
By Elsayed Gamal Eldeen