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Egypt sends Morsi, others, to trial for conspiracy

Egypt's public prosecutor ordered former President Mohamed Morsi and 35 other Islamists to stand trial on charges including conspiring with foreign groups to commit terrorist acts in Egypt and divulging military secrets to a foreign state. The charges levelled against Morsi and other top Muslim Brotherhood members on Wednesday could result in their execution.

Morsi is already standing trial for inciting violence during protests outside the presidential palace a year ago when he was still in office. He was deposed in July by the army following mass protests against his rule. In a statement, the prosecutor said the Brotherhood had committed acts of violence and terrorism in Egypt and prepared a "terrorist plan" that included an alliance with the Palestinian group Hamas and Lebanon's Hezbollah. There was no immediate comment from Hamas or Hezbollah.

The charge sheet called it "the biggest case of conspiracy in the history of Egypt". It accused the Brotherhood of carrying out attacks on security forces in North Sinai after he was deposed on July 3. It said the Brotherhood had hatched a plan dating back to 2005 that would send "elements" to the Gaza Strip for military training by Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

Upon their return to Egypt, they would join forces with extremist groups in the Sinai Peninsula, it said. The group exploited the chaos that followed the 2011 uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak, carrying out attacks on the security forces in North Sinai and elsewhere, the statement said. The group aimed to establish an "Islamic emirate" in North Sinai were Morsi not declared president.

The statement added that Morsi's presidential aides including Essam El-Haddad, his national security adviser, had leaked secret reports to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah as a reward for their co-operation. The Egyptian authorities have launched a fierce crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood since Morsi was removed from power, killing hundreds of his supporters during protests and arresting thousands more.

Copyright Reuters, 2013


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