Mursi appears in first court hearing of new espionage trial

Sunday 15-02-2015 02:14 PM
Mursi appears in first court hearing of new espionage trial

Former Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi sits behind bars with other Muslim Brotherhood members at a court in the outskirts of Cairo December 14, 2014. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih


CAIRO, Feb 15 (Aswat Masriya) – The trial of ousted Islamist President Mohamed Mursi and Muslim Brotherhood politician was postponed to 28 February, after the first session in a new trial where he is accused of "spying for Qatar" convened on Sunday.

Mursi, who was ousted in July 2013, faces trial alongside 10 others, including two of his aides over accusations of leaking classified national intelligence to the Qatari intelligence.

In today's session, Mursi said he refuses the trial. "I came here and I do not know about this case," the ousted president said, adding that he was brought to court "forcibly".

Egypt's top prosecutor referred Mursi, the head of his presidential office Ahmed Abdel Aati and his personal secretary Amin al-Serafy and the eight others to court on September 6, 2014.

Mursi has refused to answer questions on this case during investigation.   

Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat accused Mursi and his two aides of seizing classified national security intelligence and delivering them to the Qatari intelligence and the Qatari news network al-Jazeera.

A statement released by Barakat's office last September said the defendants leaked the intelligence with the help of eight "spies" and in exchange for a million dollars, adding that they were carrying out the instructions of the "terrorist" Muslim Brotherhood international organisation.

Egyptian-Qatari ties have been strained since Mursi's military ouster, with the authorities replacing Mursi's regime viewing Qatar as a Brotherhood sympathiser, using the Qatari Al Jazeera network for this aim.

Egypt has imprisoned and tried three of the network's journalists on charges of defaming Egypt and spreading false news. Eventually all three were released earlier this month but after spending at least 400 days behind bars.  

Despite both Egypt and Qatar embracing an appeal by the late Saudi King Abdullah to "consolidate relations between them" in December 2014, Al Jazeera's journalists continue to face charges before an Egyptian court.

They had initially been sentenced to prison in June 2014 but are now facing retrial, which will resume in court next week.  

Egypt's former president faces an array of charges in several other cases including inciting the killing of protesters outside the presidential palace during his tenure in December 2012, insulting the judiciary, escaping prison during the January 25 uprising in 2011, as well as facing a separate espionage case.

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