Mohammed Mursi

Egyptian prosecutors lay fresh charges against Mohammed Mursi

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 December, 2013, 5:49am
UPDATED : Sunday, 22 December, 2013, 5:49am

Egyptian prosecutors yesterday referred ousted president Mohammed Mursi to a third trial, on charges of organising prison breaks during the 2011 uprising, spreading chaos in the country and abducting policemen in collaboration with foreign militants.

The new charges against Mursi and 129 others widen the legal crackdown on the ousted Islamist president and his group, the Muslim Brotherhood, levelling sweeping accusations, most of which carry the death penalty.

Egypt's new, military-backed authorities have sought to portray the Brotherhood as largely responsible for violence and militant attacks that engulfed the country following the 2011 ouster of Mursi's predecessor, long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak. The violence has surged in the aftermath of a popularly-backed military coup that deposed Mursi in July.

The latest case against Mursi, Egypt's first freely elected president, is rooted in events during the 2011 uprising.

Days after major protests erupted against Mubarak, the government arrested dozens of Brotherhood leaders, including Mursi. Then, amid the turmoil and collapsing security, more than 20,000 inmates escaped in a series of jailbreaks, including Mursi and other Brotherhood members. Authorities said the jailbreaks were part of an organised effort to destabilise the country.

Investigative judge Hassan Samir yesterday said other Brotherhood suspects in the case include the group's leader Mohammed Badie, his deputy Mahmoud Ezzat, who is still at large, former Parliament speaker Saad el-Katatni and others.

Also charged are members of the Palestinian militant group Hamas and the Lebanese Hezbollah group, who were among those who broke out of Egyptian jails. A prominent pro-Brotherhood cleric Youssef el-Qaradawi, an Egyptian based in Qatar, is also on the list, said a prosecution official, speaking on condition of anonymity.