Egypt ex-president charged with spying for Qatar, faces death penalty

Mohamed MorsiBy IAN ALLEN |
Egypt’s ousted president Mohammed Morsi has been officially charged with spying for the government of Qatar, in what Egypt’s state prosecutor calls the biggest espionage case in the country’s history. In the summer of 2012, Morsi, representing the Muslim Brotherhood, became the first democratically elected national leader in Egyptian history, after winning the presidential election with nearly 52 percent of the vote. But he was ousted in a military coup a year later, following widespread protests against him and the Muslim Brotherhood, and has been held in prison ever since. Now Egypt’s state prosecutor has charged Morsi and eight others, including two former presidential aides, with spying on behalf of the government of Qatar. Egypt’s government accuses Morsi of selling classified documents “with direct bearing on Egypt’s national security” to the intelligence services of Qatar in exchange for $1 million. The documents allegedly included sensitive information on Egyptian military strategy, as well as tactical “positioning and the nature of its armaments”. The indictment says Morsi authorized the transfer of the documents through the Muslim Brotherhood’s “international bureau”, and that the illegal exchange was facilitated by television network Al Jazeera, which is owned by the royal family of Qatar. The oil kingdom is among the strongest international supporters of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, as well as Hamas, which is the Muslim Brotherhood’s sister organization in the Occupied Territories. Speaking to Reuters news agency, an Al Jazeera representative denied that the network played any role in transferring classified Egyptian documents to the government of Qatar. He told the news agency that “any information received by Al Jazeera is handled with the highest standard of journalistic ethics. Al Jazeera does not, therefore, comment on sources or pass information to governments”. The latest espionage indictment has been added to a long list of charges faced by Morsi, who could now face the death penalty if found guilty. Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood is undergoing a nationwide crackdown by Egyptian authorities. Nearly 1,500 of its members have been killed in confrontations with military and police forces, while over 16,000 have been detained and are facing execution by government forces.

2 Responses to Egypt ex-president charged with spying for Qatar, faces death penalty

  1. This casts a shadow over Al Jazeera’s future let alone that of Mohammed Morsi and his colleagues. Is there any reliable information available from other sources to add credence to these allegations? Interestingly, the article doesn’t say when the alleged spying took place.

    Does anyone know if it was meant to have happened when Morsi was president? Also, if so is this the first time a president or head of state has been charged with spying on his own country when in office?

  2. Tunde says:

    Is this the reason why Sis’s govt has been so resolute in keeping the AJ journalists under continued detention, despite the negative publicity re the case ? I have always felt that the must be very compelling reasons why Egypt risks raising the ire of Qatar/GCC countries by insisting the AJ journalists be kept in detention. My theory fwtw is that some parts of AJ’s reportage was deeply insightful during the military’s confrontation with the MB. If this new charge is true, it’s further ammo for Sisi. Also, perhaps Egypt’s military has a score to settle after AJ played a leading role in broadcasting discontent with Mubarak’s regime…..

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