By Aya Nader
Cairo Criminal Court postponed ousted President Mohamed Morsi’s espionage trial to 23 February in order to replace defence lawyers.
Morsi’s current defence withdrew from the case in objection to his being held in a glass cage. The court will assign 10 other defence lawyers for the following hearing, according to state-owned Al-Ahram.
Defence lawyer Mohamed Al-Damatty said that they would attend the following hearing, adding that any decision by the court to assign other defence lawyers would be “invalid”, since the current defense have already accepted fees from the defendants, Al-Ahram reported.
Al-Ahram also reported that defence lawyer Mohamed Salim Al-Awwa will not attend the postponed hearing.
Morsi and 35 other Muslim Brotherhood leaders are charged with spying for the “International Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood and its armed wing” from 2005 to 2013 by revealing classified information.
Morsi’s son Osama appeared in court for the first time in all his father’s trials, having acquired a permit.
The accused Muslim Brotherhood leaders include Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood Mohamed Badie; his deputies Khairat El-Shater and Mahmoud Ezzat; as well as members of the guidance office, including former speaker of parliament Mohamed Saad Al-Katatny, Mohamed Al-Beltagy, Essam Al-Erian, Saad Al-Hossainy and 28 others.
Last December, the prosecutor general’s office released a statement naming the charges “the biggest case of espionage in the history of Egypt”.
The prosecution accused them of compromising Egypt’s independence and unity by collaborating with foreign organisations and countries in order to finance and commit terrorist acts inside the country and disclose Egypt’s defence secrets to foreign countries.
Among the organisations they are accused of spying for is Gaza Strip ruling party Hamas, which the statement named “the military arm of the Muslim Brotherhood”; and Hezbollah in Lebanon, which it said “has strong ties with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps”.
Morsi is also being charged in three additional separate trials, for insulting the judiciary, his prison break from Wadi El-Natrun, and the presidential palace case.