Egypt accuses Morsi of conspiring with Hamas

Egypt accuses Morsi of conspiring with Hamas

Egypt accuses Morsi of conspiring with Hamas

Egypt state media is reporting that the top prosecutor has referred Morsi to trial for conspiring with foreign groups with the intention of carrying out terrorist operations in the country. AP Photo

Ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and former aides will stand trial for “espionage” that aided a “terrorist” campaign involving Palestine’s Hamas and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

Morsi is already on trial over alleged involvement in the killings of opposition protesters. Prosecutors had been investigating his alleged links to Hamas during mass prison breaks in an early 2011 uprising against ousted strongman Hosni Mubarak, when Morsi and other Islamist prisoners escaped.

He and 35 others, including former aides and leaders of his Muslim Brotherhood, now stand accused of “espionage for foreign organizations abroad to commit terrorist attacks in the country,” the official MENA news agency reported. The groups, according to the prosecution’s investigation, included Hamas and Hezbollah, MENA reported. There was no immediate comment from Hamas or Hezbollah. The charge sheet called it “the biggest case of conspiracy in the history of Egypt.” The charges leveled against Morsi and other brotherhood members could result in their execution.

Some of the defendants, including Essam Haddad, Morsi’s second in command when president, were also accused of betraying state secrets to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. The prosecution also alleged Muslim Brotherhood involvement in a surge in attacks on soldiers and police following Morsi’s overthrow, centered mostly in the restive Sinai peninsula. It said the brotherhood had hatched a plan dating back to 2005 that would send “elements” to the Gaza Strip for military training by Hezbollah and the Revolutionary Guards. Upon their return to Egypt, they would join forces with extremist groups in the Sinai Peninsula, it said.

The group exploited the chaos that followed the 2011 uprising that toppled Mubarak, carrying out attacks on the security forces in North Sinai and elsewhere, the statement said.

Some of the attacks, which have killed dozens of soldiers and policemen, have been claimed by al-Qaeda-inspired groups with no known links to the more moderate brotherhood. But prosecutors say the attacks were carried out to “bring back the deposed president and to bring Egypt back into the Muslim Brotherhood’s grip.”

Egyptian authorities have launched a fierce crackdown on the brotherhood since Morsi was removed from power on July 3, killing hundreds of his supporters during protests and arresting thousands more.