Morsi supporters protested outside the court where the deposed president faced the initial charges [EPA]
|Egypt’s deposed President Mohamed Morsi will stand trial on charges of “conspiring with foreign groups” to commit “terrorist acts.”Morsi, toppled by the military in July and already on trial for alleged involvement in the killings of opposition protesters, was also accused on Wednesday of divulging “secrets of defence to foreign countries” and “funding terrorism for militant training to fulfil the goals of the International Organisation of the Muslim Brotherhood”, according to a prosecutor document seen by Al Jazeera sources.
Egypt’s public prosecutor ordered Morsi and 35 co-accused to stand trial on charges including conspiring with foreign organisations to commit terrorist acts in Egypt and divulging military secrets to a foreign state.
In a statement, the prosecutor said that Morsi’s Muslim 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.
Some defendants, including Essam Haddad, Morsi’s second in command when president, were also accused of betraying state secrets to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.
The prosecution also alleged Muslim Brotherhood involvement in a surge of attacks on soldiers and police following Morsi’s overthrow, centred mostly in the restive Sinai Peninsula.
Prosecutors say the intention of the attacks was to “bring back the deposed president and to bring Egypt back into the Muslim Brotherhood’s grip”.
Al Jazeera’s Peter Greste, reporting from Cairo, said the charges were tantamount to a series of very serious treason charges, which carry the death penalty in Egypt.
“I suspect a lot of Morsi’s supporters will see these as outlandish charges designed to try to sideline the opposition once and for all,” he said.
Mohamed Al Damaty, the spokesman of Morsi’s defence team told Al Jazeera that they had not seen the court documents relating to the case.
“We did not receive the court documents to this case,” he said.
“We don’t know further details and there is a gag order on this case by the prosecutor banning media from publishing its details for what they call endangering national security. No date for the trial has been set yet.”
The trial appears to stem from an investigation into prison breaks during a 2011 uprising against strongman Hosni Mubarak, when Morsi and other prisoners escaped, AFP reports.
Prosecutors have alleged the jailbreaks were carried out by Palestinian and Lebanese armed groups, who had members imprisoned under Mubarak.
Al Jazeera sources said that prosecutor copy labelled the trial as the “biggest case in Egypt’s history of conspiring against Egypt.”
According to the text, the Muslim Brotherhood had been involved in smuggling weapons and allowing its members to enter Gaza through tunnels in the Sinai to receive training from factions of Hezbollah and Iranians.
It also said members had received training on communication and dealing with media through communication with the West through Qatar and Turkey.