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Morsi to stand trial for espionage

Egyptian state media reported Wednesday that ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi [BBC backgrounder] will be tried on charges of espionage and terrorism along with 35 other defendants, many of whom are also former high-level officials and members of the Muslim Brotherhood [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat claimed [Daily News Egypt report] the Muslim Brotherhood to be the source of political violence in Egypt aimed at creating a state of chaos. The indictment also alleged [BBC report] a conspiratorial plot involving an international alliance with Hamas and Hezbollah dating back to 2005. Several of the other defendants were also accused of providing state secrets to Iran's Revolutionary Guard. A spokesperson from Hamas reportedly dismissed the accusations as meritless. Morsi is currently being prosecuted separately for charges of fraud and "inciting violence." If convicted of espionage Morsi could face the death penalty.

Early in November Morsi's trial for allegedly inciting the murder of several protesters during his ouster was postponed [JURIST report] until January 2014. The Egyptian government has been cracking down on Morsi supporters and the Muslim Brotherhood. In late September an Egyptian court banned [JURIST report] the Brotherhood after having previously banned [JURIST report] several media outlets earlier in the month for their alleged support of the group. The order closing the outlets claimed they had been providing biased news reports favoring the Brotherhood. Morsi was deposed [JURIST report] as president in early July, when the Egyptian military took control of the government and suspended the nation's constitution. Egypt has faced near-continual unrest since its revolution overthrowing [JURIST backgrounder] the autocratic government of Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

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