These are the third set of charges brought against Mursi since he
was ousted by the army in July amid street protests against his rule
and they intensify the relentless repression of his Muslim
Brotherhood group in the months that followed.
Earlier this week, the prosecutor ordered Mursi and 35 other
Brotherhood leaders to stand trial in a separate case that charges
them with plotting with foreigners including Hamas and Hezbollah to
carry out a terrorist conspiracy against Egypt.
Those charges, described as "risible" by the Brotherhood, could
result in the death penalty for Mursi and his colleagues.
On Thursday, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel expressed concern
about the charges against Mursi and other Brotherhood leaders in a
phone call with army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the man who
ousted Egypt's first freely elected leader.
The security forces have killed hundreds of Brotherhood supporters
in the streets and arrested thousands more. The government accuses
the group, previously Egypt's best-organized political and religious
movement, of turning to violence and terrorism — charges the
In a three-page statement, investigating judge Hassan al-Samir
described the new case, relating to prison breaks during the
anti-Mubarak revolt, as "the most dangerous crime of terrorism the
country had witnessed".
Samir said he had uncovered a "terrorist plan" hatched by the
Brotherhood long ago and carried out with foreign players including
Lebanon's Shi'ite militant Hezbollah movement and the Palestinian
Islamist Hamas group which rules the Gaza Strip.
Mursi was one of those who escaped from prison after being rounded
up with other Brotherhood leaders after the 18-day uprising that
toppled Mubarak broke out on January 25, 2011.
In a telephone
interview with Al Jazeera immediately after his escape, Mursi said
the prison had been opened by "residents" and that he and other
Brotherhood leaders with him had not fled.
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Samir's statement did not name the accused Hezbollah or Hamas
members, but a judicial source said 68 belonged to Hamas.
Mursi and his comrades, including Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie,
were charged with killing and kidnapping policemen, attacking police
facilities and carrying out the prison break.
After protests against Mubarak began, the prosecutor charged, the
Brotherhood, extremist groups and more than 800 militants who had
infiltrated from Gaza staged attacks on police before assaulting
three prisons to release their allies.
At least 50 police and prisoners were killed in the raids in which
at least 20,000 criminals escaped, Samir's statement said.
The accused were also charged with kidnapping four policemen and
holding them in the Gaza Strip. It also said the men had
"appropriated animal and poultry livestock" from the prisons.
The judicial source said Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a prominent
cleric based in Qatar, was among the accused.
A Hezbollah operative jailed in Egypt was one of those who escaped
during the chaos in 2011. He then fled to Lebanon.
(Writing by Tom Perry; editing by Alistair Lyon)
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