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Egypt court adjourns Morsi trial in Hamas espionage case

CAIRO, EGYPT - FEBRUARY 26: Egypt’s ousted President Mohamed Morsi attends a trial session over the Wadi el-Natrun prison case at Cairo Police Academy in Egypt on February 26, 2017. ( Moustafa El Shemy - Anadolu Agency )

A Cairo criminal court adjourned the trial of ousted President Mohamed Morsi in a case in which he is accused of “espionage for Hamas”.

Morsi, along with 23 other defendants, is in court accused of orchestrating prison breaks and breaches of Egypt’s eastern border during the country’s 2011 uprising. However, the court today adjourned the trial until 29 January, citing the absence of the defendants due to a security-related difficulty in transporting them to court.

Egypt’s Court of Cassation – the highest in the country’s judicial system – had earlier accepted an appeal by the defendants, annulling death sentences against them and ordering a retrial, which is currently taking place.

Morsi was Egypt’s first democratically elected president following a popular uprising that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak in 2011 in what became known as the Arab Spring. However, in 2013, after one year of Morsi’s rule, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi led a military coup against him. Al-Sisi was elected president in 2014 amid a controversial election that was marred by a crackdown on any opposition.

Since the coup, Morsi and his supporters have been subjected to mass arrests, political trials, prolonged pretrial detention, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial extermination campaigns, in what is widely considered by observers to be the most severe crackdown on opponents in Egypt’s modern history.

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