By Aya Nader
Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat referred Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohammad Badie and 50 others to criminal court on Monday. Badie and others are charged with “forming an operations room to direct the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist group to defy the government during the Rabaa sit-in dispersal, and to spread chaos in the country.”
According to the prosecution, in the aftermath of the mass protests of 30 June, Badie and his assistant, Brotherhood leader Mahmoud Ghazlan, plotted to “spread chaos in the country, break into police stations, government institutions, private property and churches” with the aim of making Egypt appear unable to govern in the eyes of the international community. Such an implication, the statement said, was aimed at weakening the government and preparing it for a takeover, to be replaced with a government formed by the Muslim Brotherhood, who would name the acting president and attempt to win international recognition.
The statement added that the alleged operations room was relocated after the dispersal of sit-ins by supporters of former president Mohamed Morsi at Rabaa Al-Adaweya and Nahda squares on 14 August. “Members held a meeting and decided to carry out the [aforementioned plot], fabricate pictures and scenes that imply fatalities and injuries among demonstrators, prepare statements in foreign languages and publish all of this outside Egypt to imply that security forces used excessive force and violated human rights,” it read.
The prosecution also accused the group of attempting to widen the range of the sit-in to other places in Greater Cairo as well as monitoring police institutions which they intended to attack when least guarded ,and prodding youth to violent acts under the pretext of religious martyrdom.
The statement also said that the Brotherhood had formed several media centres to support their plot, among which are RASD, anchors in Amgad channel, the 25 January Channel, editors in Ikhwan Online and Ikhwan Weekly, Nafezet Masr, and Journalists for Stability, and using these centers to spread lies with regards to the military and the government.
When searching the headquarters of the above stations, the statement said, police had found foreign as well as local currencies, with papers concerning the armed forced and police.
The prosecution added that they had interrogated Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad, who confessed that the group had formed an entity under the name of the Anti-Coup Alliance, and that he was responsible for talking about the alliance in the media and holding its conferences in Rabaa mosque. He also “confessed to having interviews in English with foreign channels and newspapers about the political situation in the country.”
According to the prosecution, another arrested defendant was Sami Mostafa Ahmad, who “confessed” to working in Qatar, being a Muslim Brotherhood member and forming and managing RASD news network on Facebook.
Human Rights Lawyer Amr Imam said that these charges could lead to a death penalty. “It is obvious since the beginning that they want to form a complete espionage case” against the defendants, he said.
“We have been expecting this, because a lot of foreign diplomats have been to Egypt recently,” said Muslim Brotherhood spokeswoman Wafaa Al-Banna, accusing the Egyptian government and foreign governments of forging an “interest-driven agreement” against the Brotherhood. She added that these charges are mainly meant to “pressure people into accepting” the current political situation.
On Monday, Shubra Al-Kheima Criminal Court decided to postpone to 15 February a separate trial against Badie and 47 other Brotherhood defendants.
The other defendants include Muslim Brotherhood leaders: Safwat Hegazy, Mohamed Al-Beltagy, Osama Yassin, Bassem Ouda, Mohammed Abdel-Maqsoud, Abdul Rahman Al-Bar, Abdullah al-Barakat, and Mohsen Radi
The defendants are charged with cutting off the agriculture highway at Qalyoub in Qaliubiya governorate last July. Clashes ensued, and two people were killed and 30 others were injured as a result of violence.
The defendants also face charges of joining a terrorist group, cutting off public transportation, disrupting traffic, damaging public and private property, and incitement of violence by sending groups of Muslim Brotherhood members to create chaos and panic and to cut off the agricultural and ring roads leaving Greater Cairo’s traffic completely paralyzed.
Badie is also facing trial on 13 February for the clashes surrounding the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in Moqattam on 1 July, 2013, between supporters and opponents of the Brotherhood that left 8 dead.