Egypt sets new Morsi espionage trial on Feb 15
CAIRO, Egypt – Egypt's ousted president Mohamed Morsi faces a new espionage trial on February 15 for allegedly leaking "classified documents" to Qatar and Al-Jazeera television, a judicial source said Monday, February 2.
Morsi, ousted in July 2013 by the army, is already facing three other trials, including another case of alleged espionage, and could face the death penalty if ruled guilty.
In the new espionage trial, Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected president, and 9 others including an Al-Jazeera employee are accused of "handing over to Qatari intelligence documents linked to national security in exchange for one million dollars," a prosecution statement said.
It said the case against the suspects, of whom 7 are in custody, represented "the biggest act of treason and espionage" ever carried out against Egypt.
Morsi is already on trial in three separate cases - one for the killing of protesters during his presidency, another for allegedly conspiring with foreign powers including Iran to destabilise Egypt, and a third over a jailbreak and attacks on police stations during the 2011 uprising that ousted president Hosni Mubarak.
Trials against Morsi and several leaders of his blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood are part of a crackdown targeting his supporters that has left hundreds dead, thousands jailed and hundreds sentenced to death after speedy trials.
Qatar, where the broadcaster Al-Jazeera is based, had always supported Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood, which posted strong electoral gains after Mubarak's ouster.
After his successor Morsi was also toppled, however, the authorities banned the Brotherhood as a "terrorist organisation".
In the latest trial, Morsi's co-defendants include: his former secretary, Amin El-Serafi, the ex-director of his office, Ahmed Abdel Atti, and Ibrahim Mohamed Helal, identified as a chief editor of Al-Jazeera television.
Morsi and Abdel Atti gave El-Serafi "extremely sensitive documents concerning the army, its deployment and weaponry", and he onpassed them to Helal and a Qatari intelligence operative, according to the prosecution.
It said unidentified intermediaries were used to send the documents to Helal and the Qataris.
The papers included documents from the "general and military intelligence offices of the state security" apparatus, the prosecutor said.
Egypt and Qatar
Relations between Egypt and Qatar soured after Morsi's ouster.
While Cairo criticized Doha's backing for the Brotherhood, Qatar regularly denounced Egypt's crackdown on Morsi supporters.
Egypt jailed three Al-Jazeera journalists on charges of helping the Brotherhood, triggering an international outcry.
Australian Peter Greste and fellow Al-Jazeera journalists Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed were initially sentenced to up to 10 years in prison, but an appeals court ordered a retrial last month.
Greste was deported Sunday following a presidential decision.
Diplomatic ties between Cairo and Doha have been improving since a regional summit hosted by Riyadh in November at which Doha joined its Gulf neighbors in supporting Egypt under Sisi. – Rappler.com