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Morsi espionage trial postponed, media gag lifted

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Defendants accused of disclosing national secrets and funding terrorism

Egyptian ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi looks on from behind the defendants cage during is trial on May 8, 2014 alongside 130 others on charges of organising jail breaks during the 2011 uprising that toppled strongman Hosni Mubarak.  (AFP PHOTO / TAREK EL-GABASS)

Egyptian ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi looks on from behind the defendants cage during is trial on May 8, 2014 alongside 130 others on charges of organising jail breaks during the 2011 uprising that toppled strongman Hosni Mubarak.
(AFP PHOTO / TAREK EL-GABASS)

The Cairo Criminal Court postponed on Sunday ousted president Mohamed Morsi’s espionage trial to 14 September and lifted the media gag in place since April.

The defendants’ lawyer Mohamed Al-Damati said that journalists and media organisations would be allowed to report the trial starting at the next session, according to Reuter’s Aswat Masria.

Morsi and 35 members of the Muslim Brotherhood, including some of its most high-profile members, stand trial for collaborating with foreign groups. Others on trial include Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie, his deputies Khairat El-Shater and Mahmoud Ezzat, and leaders of the group’s political wing Saad Al-Katatni, Mohamed Al-Beltagy and Essam El-Erian.

The defendants are accused of organising “a plot” with the aid of groups including Palestinian Islamist group Hamas and Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. They also face charges of disclosing national security secrets, funding terrorism, and coordination with jihadist organisations inside and outside Egypt to execute terrorist operations in the country.

There are currently 20 detainees on trial, while the prosecution ordered the speedy arrest of 16 others. The prosecution statement that circulated when the defendants were referred to court in December described the trial as “the biggest case of espionage in the history of Egypt”.

Morsi is charged in three other cases, accused of breaking out of prison in January 2011, insulting the judiciary and inciting the killing of protesters outside the Itihadiya Palace in December 2012.

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Aya Nader

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