Morsi faces new trial on terror charges

Ousted president faces a number of upcoming trials

Ousted Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi goes on trial on 23 December on charges of fraud connected with his Muslim Brotherhood's economic and social programme for Egypt's recovery, known as Renaissance (al-Nahda).

In addition Egyptian prosectors have announced that Morsi and senior leaders of the Brotherhood movement face a new trial on terror charges, following a ruling by Egyptian prosecutors on 18 December.

Morsi will be tried with 35 other co-defendants including the top Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie and his deputies Khairat el-Shater and Mahmoud Ezzat.

Prosecutors claim that the 36 Islamists conspired with militant groups in the region, such as Palestine's Hamas, Lebanon's Hezbollah and Iran's Revolutionary Guard, to carry out terrorist activity aimed at destablising Egypt. Morsi and the Brotherhood leaders also stand accused of sponsoring terrorism, exchanging and revealing state secrets, and involvement in combat training. A trial date has yet to be announced.

The announcement of the charges, which carry a potential death penalty, comes ahead of a key referendum on a new constitution, on 14-15 January. The referendum involves rewriting the charter drafted largely by Islamists and overseen by Morsi.

Egypt's military-backed interim government is seeking a strong endorsement of the new constitution which is vehemently opposed by supporters of the Brotherhood. The Brotherhood's political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, has requested its supporters to boycott the referendum.

Since the military's removal of Morsi from power on 3 July there has been widespread political unrest and violence in Egypt while the interim government continues its crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood leaders as well as its supporters and assets.

In November Morsi faced charges of inciting violence including the killing of protesters outside the presidential palace in December 2012, following a decree that gave him sweeping powers. However the case was adjourned until 8 January.

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