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Court continues hearing witnesses for Morsi's ‘prison break’ case

Thu, Feb. 15, 2018
CAIRO – 15 February 2018: Cairo Criminal Court, headed by Counselor Mohamed Fahmy, continued on Thursday hearing the witnesses on the retrial of ousted President Mohamed Morsi and 27 other defendants in the case of breaking in the Egyptian prisons, known as the break-in of the eastern border.

The defendants in this case are ousted President Morsi and 27 leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood Group, as well as elements of the Palestinian Hamas and Lebanese Hezbollah, including Rashad Bayoumi, Mahmoud Ezzat, Mohamed Saad el-Katatni, Saad Husseini, Mohamed Badee Abdel Majid, Mohamed Beltagy, Safwat Hijazi, Issam al-Din al-Aryan, and Yusuf al-Qaradawi, among others.

The court convicted Beltagy of ‘insulting the judiciary’ by laughing sarcastically while questioning the witnesses

The re-trial of the defendants came after the Court of Cassation overturned in November the sentences issued by the Criminal Court to execute Mohamed Morsi, Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie, his deputy Rashad al-Bayoumi, Morsi's adviser Mohye Hamed, former Parliament Speaker Mohamed el-Katatny, MB leading figure Essam el-Erian, and to punish 20 other defendants with life imprisonment.

On January 28, 2011, Morsi was arrested along with 24 Muslim Brotherhood leaders and put into Wadi al-Natrun prison in Cairo, but he escaped two days later. Following the prison break, several other prisons saw multiple riots and thousands of inmates escaped.

The prosecution accused the defendants of conducting “an agreement with the political bureau of Hamas, the leaders of the International Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Egyptian state and its institutions, as well as training armed elements by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to commit acts of hostility inside the country and break into the Egyptian prisons.”

According to prosecutors, the prisons were attacked by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Hezbollah, intending to free Islamist inmates.

Major General Majid Noah, the commander of the Central Security Forces in North Sinai during the events of breaking in the state's institutions and prisons in January 2011, stated in his testimony in the hearing session in December that the National Security Forces revealed the intention of one of the clans to block the road leading to the camp of the peacekeepers, protesting the arrest of tribe members.

Noah added that during the 2011 revolution, dozens gathered in front of the Sheikh Zuwaid police station, demanding the release of some Bedouin elements who have been sentenced to prison terms for smuggling drugs and dealing with elements from Israel, Hamas and other groups in the Gaza Strip.

He added that on January 25, 2011, a march was organized; its participants attacked the local council of Rafah city and some Bedouin elements cut off the international road to Rafah.

The ousted president is already serving a 20-year sentence. On April 21, he was convicted of charges linked to the killing of protesters outside Cairo’s Presidential Palace in December 2012.

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