Egypt charges Mursi with leaking state secrets to Qatar

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Egyptian public prosecutor’s office says secret probe has unearthed enough evidence of espionage to charge Mursi and nine others in a criminal court

Egypt charged ousted president Mohamed Mursi and nine others on Saturday with endangering national security by leaking state secrets and sensitive documents to Qatar, furthering a state crackdown on his outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

Relations between Qatar, a Gulf Arab state, and Egypt have been icy since July 2013, when Egypt’s then-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi toppled Mursi after protests against his rule.

Qatar had supported Mursi, who is already in jail along with thousands of Brotherhood members, many of whom have been sentenced to death on separate charges.

Security sources had said last month that Egypt was investigating Mursi in connection with documents they said were leaked to Qatar and its satellite news channel Al Jazeera.

The Egyptian public prosecutor’s office said on Saturday its secret investigation had unearthed enough evidence of espionage to charge Mursi and nine others in a criminal court. The maximum penalty if convicted is death.

“The inquiries … exposed humiliating facts and the extent of the largest conspiracy and treason carried out by the terrorist Brotherhood organization against the nation through a network of spies,” it said in a three-page statement.

The public prosecutor said Mursi’s aides were involved in leaking to Qatari intelligence and Al Jazeera, documents which exposed the location of and weapons held by the Egyptian armed forces and detailed the country’s foreign and domestic policies.

The Qatari Foreign Ministry in Doha did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the accusations. Al Jazeera, which has been banned from Egypt, has denied any bias in reporting events there or any role in aiding the Brotherhood.

The Brotherhood dismissed the charges as political.

“Today is the start of yet another kangaroo trial… Mursi’s trials are politically motivated cases with trumped up charges and a corrupt judiciary presiding over it,” Abdulla El-Haddad, a Brotherhood spokesman based in Britain, said by email.

Mursi faces trial in five other cases as well, on charges ranging from violence to insulting the judiciary.