Friday,14 December, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1361, (21 - 27 September 2017)
Friday,14 December, 2018
Issue 1361, (21 - 27 September 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Final verdict against Morsi

The Court of Cassation upholds the life sentence handed down to former president Mohamed Morsi for spying for Qatar, reports Gamal Essam El-Din


Final verdict against Morsi
Final verdict against Morsi

On 16 September the Court of Cassation — the highest judicial authority in Egypt — upheld the 25-year sentence against ousted president Mohamed Morsi handed down in June 2016 when Morsi was found guilty of passing classified documents to Qatar during his tenure as president. The court confirmed death sentences against Morsi’s three co-defendants in the case.The Court of Cassation’s verdict is final.

The court also agreed to a request by prosecutor Nabil Sadek that Hamad bin Jassem, chairman of Al-Jazeera and a former prime minister of Qatar, be investigated for espionage. Prosecutors claim Bin Jassem attempted to obtain military secrets from Morsi and other Muslim Brotherhood figures at the request of unnamed foreign intelligence agencies.

The three Muslim Brotherhood defendants who received the death penalty are Mohamed Kilani, Ahmed Afifi and Ahmed Ismail.

Kilani, an EgyptAirsteward, was convicted of passing classified documents to Qatari intelligence officers in return for $1 million.

Documentary film producer Afifi was found guilty of passing classified documents to Qatar via Al-Jazeera in return for $50,000. According to the court, the documents contained detailed information about Egypt’s military deployment in North Sinai.

Ismail, a lecturer at Misr Science and Technology University, received $1 million from Qatari intelligence for copying classified information onto computer discs to be smuggled to Qatar.

Morsi, together with the head of his office Ahmed Abdel-Ati and his private secretary Amin Al-Serafi, used their posts to smuggle classified information to Qatar. “As president of Egypt Morsi receivedregular classified reports from Egyptian Intelligence, the Ministry of Defence, Military Intelligence, National Security and the Administrative Control Authority,” said the court. “Morsi and his two aides, Abdel-Aal and Al-Serafi, passed copies of these reports to Qatari intelligence having been told to do so by the Guidance Bureau of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

The court found seven defendants, affiliated with three media outlets — Al-Jazeera channel, Misr 25 news website, and Rasd information network —  aided Morsi and his aides in the passing of classified documents some of which were aired on Al-Jazeera. “The documents were handed in person to a high-ranking Qatari intelligence official at the Doha Sheraton Hotel,” said the court.

In October 2016 the Court of Cassation upheld a 20-year sentence against Morsi and eight members of his presidential staff after they were found guilty of inciting violence outside the Ittihadeya Presidential Palace on 5 December 2012 which led to the death of 10 protesters.

Since his arrest in 2013 Morsi has been tried on charges that include conspiring with foreign powers — Hamas, Hizbullah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards — to destabilise Egypt and insulting the judiciary.

The 16 September final verdict against Morsi is likely to fuel the political stand-off between Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrainon one side, and Qatar on the other. The four countries cut diplomatic ties with Qatar in June, accusing its rulers of funding terrorism and providing refugee to terrorists.

Security analysts say the verdict against Morsi could be used by the four states to issue an arrest warrant for former Qatari prime minister Bin Jassem.

“Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain accuse Bin Jassem and Qatar’s former emir Hamad bin Khalifa of funding terrorism and using the Muslim Brotherhood organisation to force regime change in the Arab world,”sayssecurity expert Khaled Okasha.

“Television channels in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia recently aired telephone calls dating from 2010in which Bin Jassem tells the then Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi that Qatar would lead regime change in the Arab world, particularly in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain.”

Saudi Arabia has accused Bin Jassem and Gaddafi of planning to assassinate the late Saudi king Abdullah bin Abdel-Aziz.

Okasha warns the verdict could prompt some members of the Muslim Brotherhoodto join Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis in North Sinai.

The Interior Ministry said last week that the majority of members of the terrorist group Hasm (Decisiveness) were onetime Muslim Brothers.

On 15 September the Department of Consular Affairs in the Qatari Foreign Ministry warned its citizens against traveling to Egypt.

On Sunday a number of MPs demanded Morsi be stripped of his Egyptian nationality. “The crime of spying amounts to grand treason and this justifies stripping Morsi of Egyptian nationality,” said independent MP Abdel-Rehim Ali.

Ali, a journalist and a researcher on Islamist movements, told reporters he has asked the prosecutor-general to requestan arrest warrant for Bin Jassem from Interpol.

“I gave the prosecutor-general a 30-minute video in which a Muslim Brotherhood membersays he met Bin Jassem in a Doha hotel and was offered money in return for smuggling classified information from Egypt,” said Ali. 

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