The trial of deposed president Mohamed Morsi and leading Muslim Brotherhood members for espionage has been postponed to 27 February after the defendants appeared in court on Sunday.
Originally scheduled for 16 February, the trial was first delayed after Morsi’s defence team resigned to protest courtroom conditions, and was held in at the Police Academy in the Fifth Settlement. Morsi was held in a soundproof glass box without verbal access to his attorneys.
Morsi’s co-defendants in the case include many of the highest-ranking Muslim Brotherhood leaders, including Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood Mohamed Badie; his deputies Khairat Al-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 others.
All the defendants pleaded “not guilty”.
Called “the biggest case of espionage in the history of Egypt” by the prosecutor general’s office, Morsi and his co-defendants face a litany of charges alleging that they communicated with foreign entities in an effort to create chaos in Egypt.
The prosecutor lists the Brotherhood’s members as accomplices in “a plot” organised with the aid of several foreign organisations such as: the Islamic resistance movement of Hamas, which it named “the military arm of the Muslim Brotherhood”; Hezbollah in Lebanon, which it said “has strong ties with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps”; and other extremist jihadist groups inside and outside the country.
The prosecutor general added that the investigations had uncovered that some members of the Brotherhood received military and media training in Gaza, which they had reached via secret tunnels.
The objective of this military training, he said, was to return to Sinai to join other jihadists to “implement their training”.
The alleged media training, meanwhile, was aimed at manipulating public opinion “to serve the agenda [of the Brotherhood], which has opened channels with the west through Qatar and Turkey,” the statement added.
Morsi is also the co-defendant in three other trials: inciting the killing of protesters during deadly clashes outside the presidential palace in December 2012, insulting the judiciary, and escaping from prison during the 25 January Revolution.
Morsi’s appearance in court was his second in as many days, and he is also scheduled to appear on Monday for the resumption of the prison break trial, which was postponed on Saturday.
Morsi has been in custody since being ousted by the military on 3 July. Until his first appearance in court on 4 November, his place of detention was unknown.