CAIRO: The Cairo Criminal Court issued Tuesday morning a media gag order on covering the trial of Mohamed Morsi and 10 co-defendants charged with spying for Qatar.
Coverage of the trial is expected to be permitted once a final verdict is announced, effectively banning any reporting on testimony and evidence presented in proceedings. The request for a media ban came from Morsi’s defense team, Youm7 reported.
According to the investigations, Morsi and the other defendants face charges of leaking documents and files from State’s intelligence bodies and the Armed Forces and the National Security Sector to the presidential palace to send their information to Qatar. The documents include information about the Armed Forces’ stationing places and the State’s foreign and interior policies.
The defendants include Qatari-owned Al Jazeera channel, and an officer in the Qatari Intelligence body.
In the last session that was held Saturday, Morsi’s defense lawyer asked the court panel, presided by Mohamed Sherin Fahmy, to hold future sessions in secret as the evidence which came in a report submitted by the Egyptian National Security sector in June 2014 was “very sensitive for public security.”
The defense team also asked for a copy from the official state’s newspaper issue in which the former Minister of Interior published its decision about forming a the new National Security Sector. According to the Egyptian legal code and constitution, any decision must be published in an official newspaper- alWaqaei al-Masryia- to come into force.
In case that the decision were not published, the lawyer said, the body’s formation would be illegal.
This ban is one of several in effect for high-profile cases and investigations; coverage related to the murder of activist Shaimaa al-Sabbagh Jan. 24, as well as a lawyer who died in a police station in mid-February are also under similar gag orders; media are only allowed to report what is officially communicated through state institutions.