Muslim Brotherhood leaders, including ex-president Mohamed Morsi, face the prospect of being tried for treason, Gamal Essam El-Din reports
Mohamed Morsi, ex-president of Egypt and a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Guidance Bureau, is being investigated on suspicion of treason and conspiracy to murder.
Several lawyers and political activists have filed lawsuits against Morsi, accusing him of coordinating with foreign elements to spread chaos and kill Egyptians during the early days of the 25 January Revolution and during his year in office.
Lawyer Amir Salem told journalists on Sunday that rulings issued by the Ismailia Appeals Court on 23 June implicated Morsi, along with 13 leading Brotherhood officials, in spying and of instigating contacts with foreign elements during the 25 January Revolution and encouraging them to spread chaos by attacking Egyptian civilians.
“The intelligence agencies intercepted calls between Hamas and Brotherhood officials on 24, 25, 26 and 27 January 2011,” says Salem.
“Brotherhood officials clearly viewed Palestinian Hamas as its military arm. They asked Hamas to help the Brotherhood ride the wave of the uprising against President Hosni Mubarak by infiltrating Egypt and ensuring the group emerged on top.”
On 24 January, according to Salem: “Mohamed Morsi contacted Khaled Meshaal, chairman of Hamas’s political bureau, requesting help on the ground which Meshaal promised to provide. It was a direct result of this call that Morsi and 33 Brotherhood officials were arrested and taken into custody on 27 January 2011, and held in a security detention facility in 6 October city. Then as chaos spread following the collapse of security forces on 28 January 2011 Morsi and his colleagues were transferred to Wadi Al-Natroun prison near Alexandria.”
“Hamas infiltrated the borders with Sinai and on their way to prisons located in the Nile Delta and on the Cairo-Alex desert road killed tens of Egyptian citizens,” claims Salem. “When Hamas and Brotherhood activists stormed the Wadi Al-Natroun prison to set Morsi and others free they killed a further 14 Egyptian citizens.”
“In asking foreign armed militias to infiltrate the country and release jihadist elements from prison Morsi acted treasonably,” says Salem. “If convicted he could face execution or life imprisonment.”
Political activist Mamdouh Hamza has also launched a suit accusing Morsi of summoning foreign armed militias to kill Egyptians. In addition, Hamza claims that Morsi used “official visits to foreign countries to smuggle security documents incriminating the international arm of the Muslim Brotherhood” out of Egypt.
Hamza also accuses Morsi of helping lawyers affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood to reach lucrative “reconciliation deals” with leading Mubarak-era business tycoons. Brotherhood lawyer Said Al-Sheikha, former Islamist presidential candidate Selim Al-Awwa and Wasat Party leader Essam Sultan are among the lawyers Hamza names.
A third lawsuit filed by Abdel-Rehim Ali, political analyst and editor of bawabanews.com, accuses Morsi of spying for the US and Turkey. Ali said he has yet to complete his dossier of evidence against Morsi but that when he does “the public will be shocked by how America turned Morsi into a spy.”
“While it always seemed likely that the Ismailia Court ruling would be used to prosecute Morsi,” says activist Abul-Ezz Al-Hariri, “so far the lawsuits that have been filed against the former president appear to be motivated by revenge rather than being well-documented accusations.”
“I think the prosecutor-general has to take the initiative himself and order prosecution authorities to review the Ismailia ruling and begin questioning Morsi and other Brotherhood leaders.” said Al-Hariri.
Informed judicial sources say the prosecution has already begun investigating charges levelled at Morsi and other Brotherhood officials, including the group’s Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie and the deputy supreme guide, billionaire businessman Khairat Al-Shater.
According to one judicial source, “prosecution authorities are already examining recordings of calls made by Morsi, Badie and Al-Shater to elements within Hamas, the US and Afghanistan.”
“The recordings leave no doubt that just hours ahead of Minister of Defence Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi’s statement on 3 July removing Morsi from power the then president was pleading with elements from Palestine, Afghanistan and the US to intervene and help him stay in power.”
Judicial sources also claim that after Morsi became president he tried to gain possession of earlier recordings of calls between senior Brotherhood members and Hamas.
According to political activist Ali, Morsi and Al-Shater intervened to appoint police Major General Ahmed Abdel-Gawwad as deputy chairman of the National Security Apparatus. Following Morsi’s fall from power Abdel-Gawwad was arrested on Saturday on suspicion of handing over tapes of intercepted calls from senior Brotherhood officials to Hamas and other foreign elements to Al-Shater. The Interior Ministry has already said that it was able to locate and arrest Al-Shater and Abdel-Gawwad by following calls between the two.” According to Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim, “the arrest of Abdel-Gawwad is a step towards getting the security agencies back on track.”
Meanwhile, rumours have surfaced that Abdel-Gawwad, aided by three other security officials, regularly provided Brotherhood leaders with classified information, including on Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim.
Fortunately, say sources within the judiciary, several files prepared by intelligence and security agencies on Morsi’s contacts with foreign elements have already been recovered.
The Brotherhood’s Supreme Guide Badie appeared at a rally of Morsi’s Islamist supporters in Nasr City on 4 July, dispelling rumours that he had been arrested. Press reports claimed Badie had been brought to the square in an ambulance, disguised in a niqab (a face veil) and accompanied by Palestinian guards from Hamas.
Dozens of Muslim Brotherhood leaders have been detained upon charges of inciting violence and manslaughter since Morsi was deposed. They include Saad Al-Katatni, chairman of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party and the former speaker of the People’s Assembly; Mahdi Akef, the Brotherhood’s former supreme guide and Rashad Al-Bayoumi, a member of the Brotherhood’s Guidance Bureau.
Prosecution authorities have also issued warrants for Mohamed Al-Beltagui and Safwat Hegazi. Both men are currently among Morsi’s supporters in Nasr City.
Assem Abdel-Maged and Tarek Al-Zomor, leaders of Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya, the group that masterminded the assassination of Anwar Al-Sadat and the massacre of tourists at the temple of Hatshepsut in Luxor, also face detention after they told the pro-Morsi rally at Nasr City on 28 June that they would shed blood to keep Morsi in office and turn Egypt into an Islamist state.