Cairo Criminal Court postponed the Muslim Brotherhood’s “Espionage” trial to 26 November to listen to the defence for Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie and former Speaker of Parliament Saad Al-Katatni.
Former president Mohamed Morsi asked to defend himself in the case, saying that “the court considers me defendant, and I consider myself outside the court’s authority”. He added that he rejected the court proceedings, reported state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram
The prosecution claimed that terrorist organisations have trained Muslim Brotherhood “demons” to violate the sanctity of Egypt, Al-Ahram added.
Morsi and 35 Muslim Brotherhood members including Badie, his deputies Khairat El-Shater and Mahmoud Ezzat and leaders of the group’s political wing Al-Katatni, Mohamed Al-Beltagy and Essam El-Erian, stand trial for collaborating with foreign groups.
Prosecution cited a document seized from the house of Al-Shater on so-called “hot groups”, described by the prosecution as groups aimed at turning the system upside down. These “hot groups” reportedly left the country to the Gaza Strip through border tunnels several times, and received military training on the use of miscellaneous machine guns to raid facilities in Egypt.
The prosecution further claimed that a meeting in November 2010 took place in Syria attended by Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, Muslim Brotherhood members, and Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini. This meeting would have resulted in agreements on equipping and training armed elements, coordination with “takfirist” groups in Sinai and supporting the Muslim Brotherhood to control the government.
In June 2012 another meeting was allegedly conducted between the Muslim Brotherhood and foreign organisations in which they agreed to train a number of terrorist groups, including Hezbollah, according to the prosecution.
Al-Ahram reported that the groups entered the country through the Egyptian-Palestinian tunnels to carry out “terrorist operations” on major facilities in Sinai, being reinforced with equipment, weapons and cars.
The prosecution also pointed out to the formation of a committee called the “Task Committee” in Rafah and Al-Arish to manage movement of and provide financial support for Hamas “terrorist activities”.
The defendants are accused of organising “a plot” with the aid of groups such as Hamas, the ruling party in the Gaza Strip, and Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. They also face charges of disclosing of national security secrets, funding terrorism, and coordination with jihadist organisations inside and outside Egypt, to execute terrorist operations inside Egyptian territory.
There are currently 20 detainees on trial, while the prosecution ordered the quick 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 currently charged in three other cases, in which he is accused of breaking out of prison in January 2011, insulting the judiciary and inciting the killing of protesters outside of the presidential palace in December 2012.