Egyptian prosecutors say that Muslim Brotherhood-aligned former President Mohammed Morsi conspired with Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran to perpetrate terrorist acts in Egypt, and he will now stand trial to face those charges which carry the death penalty.
Prosecutors were quoted by the BBC as calling the new charges “the biggest case of conspiracy in the country's history.”
A supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood and of ousted president Mohamed Morsi holds a poster of Morsi during a rally outside the Police Academy where his trial is taking place on November 4, 2013, in Cairo. Egypt’s deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi went on trial in a Cairo courthouse over protester deaths, raising fears of new bloodshed four months after the army ousted him. (Credit: AFP/Getty Images)
Prosecutors said on Wednesday that they believe that Morsi along with 35 others were involved in a massive conspiracy with the terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah as well as Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, which included the leaking of state secrets, sponsoring of terrorism and training for future attacks.
The Associated Press reported that the charges allege that Muslim Brotherhood operatives were smuggled into Gaza for military training by Hezbollah and its backer the Iranian Revolutionary Guard with the aim of attacking targets in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.
“It accused the group of preparing an alternative plan to declare ‘Islamic state’ in the northern Sinai peninsula, where militant groups are powerful, if Morsi lost 2012 presidential elections,” the AP reported of the investigation.
Reuters reported that prosecutors further believe that Morsi’s National Security Adviser Essam El-Haddad rewarded Hezbollah and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards by leaking them secret reports.
A statement issued by prosecutors blamed Morsi for terrorist attacks on Egyptian soil.
"[T]he Brotherhood and those terrorist groups carried out explosions and attacks against the military forces and police in Sinai to terrorize Egyptians and create chaos," read a quote from the legal document translated by the AP. Prosecutors wrote that the aim was to incite civil war and later restore Morsi to office to "reclaim the Brotherhood's grip" on power.
Prosecutors say the conspiracy began as early as 2005 and involved the receiving of foreign funds and the smuggling of weapons from Libya and Sudan. The AP reported:
Senior security and military officials told The Associated Press that the evidence includes alleged recordings of conversations between Morsi and his aides with al-Qaida militants during a visit by Morsi to Pakistan while president and with militant leaders in Egypt, along with confessions by detained militants. [...]
The charges are also linked to two mass shootings killing security forces in Sinai in 2012 and 2013, the smuggling of weapons from Libya and Sudan and a prison break during the anti-Mubarak uprising in which Morsi and other Brotherhood leaders escaped from prison. An Egyptian court last year accused Morsi and the Brotherhood of conspiring with Hamas to carry out the breaks, in which 14 inmates died.
Morsi and other Muslim Brotherhood leaders are currently on trial for inciting to murder.
Muslim Brotherhood supporters and some human rights activists say the charges are politically motivated.
Bahy Eddin Hassan, head of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, told the AP, “The biggest victim now is justice and the truth.”