CAIRO: Cairo Criminal Court Thursday adjourned the trial of former President Mohamed Morsi and others over charges in the 2011 Wadi al-Natroun prison break case to May 19 in order to hear witness testimonies.
The trial of Morsi, former Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie, his deputy Mahmoud Ezzat, Saad Katatni, Essam el-Erian, Safwat Higazy and 126 others began Wednesday morning. Twenty-two defendants are imprisoned and the rest are being tried in absentia, including alleged members of Hamas and Hezbollah. The trial was held at the Police Academy. During the trial, the defendants turned their backs to the judges.
One of the witnesses, National Security officer Adel Helmy said that prisoners at Wadi Natroun started a fire inside the prison to allow collaborators on the outside to break into the facility. Helmy also alleged that Hamas is the “military wing” of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Defendant Mohamed el-Beltagy, General Secretary of the Freedom and Justice Party, asked the witness why he didn’t file a lawsuit during the rule of former President Morsi, adding that nine of the defendants had been in the People’s Council, including the council president.
The defense team has demanded the recusal of the presiding judges, a request the Cairo Appeals Court rejected during the last trial session April 9.
The first trial session was held Jan. 28. During the session, the Public Prosecution said 800 members of Hamas and Hezbollah committed acts that harmed the sovereignty of the country. The prosecution added that Hamas and Hezbollah members fired heavy weapons from the Gaza border and bombed checkpoints and natural gas pipelines during the 2011 revolution in addition to destroying government facilities.
The prosecution also alleges these groups broke into different prisons to release their supporters, destroying buildings and killing a number of people. According to the prosecution, this allowed 20,000 prisoners to escape.
Additionally reporting by Ahmed Ismail.