The Times West Virginian

Headline News

July 12, 2013

Egypt to investigate Morsi for ’11 jailbreak

CAIRO — Prosecutors will investigate allegations that Egypt’s ousted president escaped from prison during the 2011 revolution with help from the Palestinian militant group Hamas, officials said Thursday.

Chief prosecutor Hesham Barakat has received testimonies from a court in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia that will be the base for an investigation by state security prosecutors into the jailbreak by Mohammed Morsi and more than 30 other Muslim Brotherhood leaders, according to the officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

The question of whether Hamas helped them escape amid the chaos surrounding the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak has been debated in the media for months and proved a political headache for Morsi during his one-year rule as Egypt’s first freely elected president. Critics in the opposition and judiciary have suggested that proof of foreign intervention on Egyptian soil could lead to treason charges.

The issue has taken on more significance since Morsi was ousted on July 3 by the military following a wave of protests in which millions of Egyptians called on him to step down. The toppled Islamist leader has been kept at an undisclosed Defense Ministry facility and no charges against him have been announced.

Hamas has denied any role in the Jan. 29, 2011, jailbreak at Wadi el-Natroun prison northwest of Cairo. Morsi and other Brotherhood leaders have said local residents helped them escape after most inmates left the facility.

The investigation stems from a court case against a former inmate, but judge Khaled Mahgoub turned what was in effect a low-profile trial into a public inquiry into the escape by Morsi and the other Brotherhood officials. A series of prison officials, police and intelligence agents testified, some behind closed doors.

In the end, Mahgoub referred the testimonies he collected to the chief prosecutor’s office with a request that he investigates the matter further.

In part at least, the trial in Ismailia fits into a picture of strained relations between Morsi and the judiciary after what many judges saw as his encroachment on the independence of the judiciary.

A string of top police, prison and intelligence officials have blamed Hamas, a close ally of Morsi’s Brotherhood, saying the militant group sent fighters from the Gaza Strip to join with Bedouins from the Sinai Peninsula to storm prisons and break out the jailed Hamas members.

In Egypt’s polarized political climate, opponents of the ousted leader used the issue against him, saying friends of the Brotherhood violated the country’s security and fed its instability. The eagerness of some in the intelligence and security agencies to blame Hamas reflect in part resentment of the Brotherhood’s ties with the militant group, which they have long seen as a threat.

News of the intended investigation came one day after authorities issued arrest warrants for the Brotherhood’s spiritual leader, Mohammed Badie, and nine other Islamists accused of inciting violence after deadly clashes — the latest moves by the new military-backed government as it tries to choke off the group’s campaign to reinstate Morsi.

The warrants drew an angry response from the Brotherhood, which said “dictatorship is back” and insisted it will never work with the interim rulers.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called Egypt’s Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Ali Amr to express his “deep concern about continued detentions in Egypt and arrest warrants issued against Muslim Brotherhood leaders and others.”

Ban said, “There is no place for retribution or for the exclusion of any major party or community in Egypt.”

Badie’s whereabouts are not known, but many of the others are believed to be taking refuge somewhere near a continuing sit-in by the group’s supporters outside the Rabaah al-Adawiya Mosque in an eastern Cairo district that is traditionally a Brotherhood stronghold.

Security agencies have already jailed five leaders of the Brotherhood, including Badie’s powerful deputy, Khairat el-Shaiter, and shut down its media outlets.

The prosecutor general’s office said Badie, another deputy, Mahmoud Ezzat, el-Beltagy and popular preacher Safwat Hegazy are suspected of instigating Monday’s clashes with security forces outside a Republican Guard building that killed 54 people — most Morsi supporters — in the worst bloodshed since he was ousted.

The Islamists have accused the troops of gunning down the protesters, while the military blamed armed backers of Morsi for attempting to storm a military building.

The arrest warrants highlight the armed forces’ zero-tolerance policy toward the Brotherhood, which was banned under authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak.

“This just signals that dictatorship is back,” said Brotherhood spokesman Ahmed Aref. “We are returning to what is worse than Mubarak’s regime, which wouldn’t dare to issue an arrest warrant of the general leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

1
Text Only
Headline News
  • FDA eases into regulating e-cigarettes

    The federal government’s move to regulate e-cigarettes is a leap into the unknown.
    Most everyone agrees a ban on selling them to kids would be a step forward. But health and public policy experts can’t say for certain whether the electronic devices are a good thing or a bad thing overall, whether they help smokers kick the habit or are a gateway to ordinary paper-and-tobacco cigarettes.

    April 25, 2014

  • Gunman kills three Americans at Kabul hospital

    Three Americans — a pediatrician and a father and son — were killed by an Afghan government security officer at a hospital Thursday, the latest in a series of attacks on foreign civilians that has rattled aid workers, contractors and journalists.
    Another American, a female medical worker, was wounded in the attack at Cure International Hospital of Kabul, run by a U.S.-based Christian charity, and the gunman also was wounded, officials said.

    April 25, 2014

  • Fresh Senate voices speak out on foreign policy

    Fresh voices in the U.S. Senate are speaking loudly on foreign policy, a new generation of Republicans and Democrats who reflect a war-weary nation cautious about America’s next moves.
    Sens. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Rand Paul of Kentucky stand on either side of the growing divide in the GOP, pitting those who favor more robust U.S. engagement overseas against an isolationist’s deficit-driven concerns about the cost of foreign entanglements.

    April 25, 2014

  • Labor Department cuts levels of allowable coal dust

    The Obama administration said Wednesday it is cutting the amount of coal dust allowed in coal mines in an effort to help reduce black lung disease.
    “Today we advance a very basic principle: you shouldn’t have to sacrifice your life for your livelihood,” Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez said.

    April 24, 2014

  • Obama offers Japan security, economic assurances

    Facing fresh questions about his commitment to Asia, President Barack Obama will seek to convince Japan’s leaders Thursday that he can deliver on his security and economic pledges, even as the crisis in Ukraine demands U.S. attention and resources elsewhere.

    April 24, 2014

  • Supreme Court: Michigan affirmative action ban OK

    A state’s voters are free to outlaw the use of race as a factor in college admissions, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday in a blow to affirmative action that also laid bare tensions among the justices about a continuing need for programs that address racial inequality in America.

    April 23, 2014

  • Court critical of law punishing campaign lies

    The Supreme Court appears to be highly skeptical of laws that try to police false statements during political campaigns, raising doubts about the viability of such laws in more than 15 states.

    April 23, 2014

  • U.S.: Russia has ‘days, not weeks’ to follow by an international accord for Ukraine

    Russia has “days, not weeks” to abide by an international accord aimed at stemming the crisis in Ukraine, the top U.S. diplomat in Kiev warned Monday as Vice President Joe Biden launched a high-profile show of support for the pro-Western Ukrainian government. Russia in turn accused authorities in Kiev of flagrantly violating the pact and declared their actions would not stand.

    April 22, 2014

  • U.S. weighing military exercises

    The United States is considering deploying about 150 soldiers for military exercises to begin in Poland and Estonia in the next few weeks, a Western official said Saturday. The exercises would follow Russia’s buildup of forces near its border with Ukraine and its annexation last month of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.

    April 21, 2014

  • Ukraine, Russia trade blame for shootout

    Within hours of an Easter morning shootout at a checkpoint manned by pro-Russia insurgents in eastern Ukraine, Russia’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement blaming militant Ukrainian nationalists and Russian state television stations aired pictures of supposed proof of their involvement in the attack that left at least three people dead.

    April 20, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads