By Darrin Simmons
Impunity Watch Reporter, Middle East
CAIRO, Egypt-Deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi is facing charges of espionage and carrying out “terror attacks” in Egypt, as a third trial against him is due to commence. 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, along with 35 others former aides and leaders of his Muslim Brotherhood, are accused “of spying for the international organization 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.”
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.
Morsi is separately being tried on charges linked to a jailbreak during the 2011 uprising that toppled strongman Hosni Mubarak. Morsi, along with 130 others, including dozens of members of Hamas and Lebanon’s Shiite militant movement Hizbollah, led the charge during the 2011 military coup.
Further charges are set against the ousted leader as he is also to be tried separately for “insulting the judiciary”. A date for this trial has yet to be set.
In his most recent public appearance, at the start of his second trial in late January, a defiant Morsi questioned the trial judge’s authority, asking Judge Shabaan el-Shami to identify himself. The trial was adjourned to give lawyers more time to examine files, and is due to begin again on Saturday.
In his previous appearance, Morsi insisted that he remained the country’s legitimate president and challenged the legitimacy of the court, regularly interrupting the judges and prosecutors.
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.
During Morsi’s short-lived presidency, ties between Cairo and Hamas, a Palestinian affiliate of the Muslim Brotherhood which rules the neighboring Gaza strip, had flourished.
But since July, Egypt’s military-installed government has accused Hamas of backing Morsi and his Brotherhood and carrying out terrorist attacks inside Egypt.
The army has destroyed several hundred tunnels used to ferry crucial supplies, including fuel, into the blockaded Gaza Strip.
If found guilty, the defendants could face the death penalty.
For more information, please see the following:
Al Jazeera-Morsi in court for espionage trial-16 February 2014
BBC-Lawyers for Egypt’s Morsi walk out of latest trial-16 February 2014
Deutsche Welle-Morsi faces fresh trial in Egypt on spying charges-16 February 2014
Telegraph-Mohamed Morsi in court on Egypt spying and ‘terror attacks’ charges-16 February 2014