CAIRO — An Egyptian court has set February 16 as the start date for one of the trials of ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi, this one on charges of conspiring with foreign groups.
Egypt’s prosecutor general has charged Morsi and other top Muslim Brotherhood leaders with conspiring with militant groups such as the Palestinian Hamas and the Lebanese Hezbollah, as well as with Iran to destabilize Egypt. Morsi is also accused of orchestrating an insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula to avenge his ouster.
Morsi’s supporters and rights groups have called the accusations implausible. Morsi was ousted in a popularly backed military coup last July, nearly a year after he became Egypt’s first freely elected president. Since the coup, the interim government has outlawed his party, the Muslim Brotherhood.
The former leader is facing a total of four trials and was most recently referred to court over insulting the judiciary. Charges in the other three trials, including inciting the murder of his opponents and organizing jailbreaks, carry the death penalty.
Medhat Idris of the Cairo Appeals Court told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the venue for the trial has not been determined yet.
Morsi is facing four separate trials and was most recently referred to trial over insulting the judiciary. Charges in the other three trials, including inciting the murder of his opponents and organizing jailbreaks, carry the death penalty.
Only the trial for the killing of his opponents has started and is to resume next month.
Meanwhile, an Egyptian court sentenced Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, a top ultraconservative Islamist and former presidential hopeful, to one year in prison on charges of insulting judges.
The Cairo Criminal Court sentenced him on Monday for comments he allegedly made on another trial.
Abu Ismail was a top ally of the country’s ousted president Mohammed Morsi, now facing several charges. The original charges against Abu Ismail are related to the alleged forging of his mother’s nationality during his presidential bid in 2012.
Abu Ismail told judges on Monday: “The court is void … This is not a real judiciary in the first place.” His trial was held in a venue adjacent to Tora prison where he along with a large number of members from Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood are held.
Earlier Tuesday, a court in the United Arab Emirates convicted 30 men on charges of setting up a Muslim Brotherhood branch in the country and sentenced them to prison terms ranging from three months to five years.
Tuesday’s verdict is part of a broader crackdown on Islamist opposition groups in Arab Gulf countries.
Defense lawyers and rights groups say the 20 Egyptians and 10 Emiratis have denied the charges against them during the trial.
The Emirati suspects were previously convicted of sedition in a separate trial over the summer.
The 30 were also accused of trying to obtain security data and collecting donations without permission.
The UAE’s official National newspaper says the country’s top court also ordered the seizure of all funds and properties belonging to the men.