The Times West Virginian

World 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
World News
  • Gaza sides agree to lull; truce stalled

    Israel-Hamas fighting looked headed for escalation after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry failed Friday to broker a weeklong truce as a first step toward a broader deal and Israel’s defense minister warned Israel might soon expand its Gaza ground operation “significantly.”

    July 26, 2014

  • U.S.: Russia firing across border into Ukraine

    Russia is launching artillery attacks from its soil on Ukrainian troops and preparing to move heavier weaponry across the border, the U.S. and Ukraine charged Friday in what appeared to be an ominous escalation of the crisis.
    Russia accused Washington of lying and charged Ukraine with firing across the border on a Russian village. It also toughened its economic measures against Ukraine by banning dairy imports.

    July 26, 2014

  • U.N. school in Gaza in cross-fire; 15 killed

    A U.N. school in Gaza crowded with hundreds of Palestinians seeking refuge from fierce fighting came under fire Thursday, killing at least 15 civilians and leaving a sad tableau of blood-spattered pillows, blankets and children’s clothing scattered in the courtyard.

    July 25, 2014

  • Jet with 116 on board crashes in Mali

    An Air Algerie jetliner carrying 116 people crashed Thursday in a rainstorm over restive Mali, and its wreckage was found near the border of neighboring Burkina Faso — the third major international aviation disaster in a week.

    July 25, 2014

  • Two more planes with Ukraine bodies arrive in Netherlands

    Two more military aircraft carrying remains of victims from the Malaysian plane disaster arrived in the Netherlands on Thursday, while Australian and Dutch diplomats joined to promote a plan for a U.N. team to secure the crash site which has been controlled by pro-Russian rebels.

    July 25, 2014

  • Bodies of Malaysian jet victims solemnly returned to Dutch soil

    Victims of the Malaysian jetliner shot down over Ukraine returned at last Wednesday to Dutch soil in 40 wooden coffins, solemnly and gently carried to 40 identical hearses, flags at half-staff flapping in the wind.

    July 24, 2014

  • 48 dead in Taiwan plane crash

    Family members of victims of a plane crash were flying to the small Taiwanese island on Thursday where the plane had unsuccessfully attempted to land in stormy weather, killing 48. There were 10 survivors, and authorities were searching for one person who might have been in a wrecked house on the ground.

    July 24, 2014

  • Monitors try to secure Ukraine plane crash site

    International monitors moved gingerly Saturday through fields reeking of the decomposing corpses that fell from a Malaysian airliner shot down over rebel-held eastern Ukraine, trying to secure the sprawling site in hopes that a credible investigation can be conducted.
    But before inspectors ever reach the scene, doubts arose about whether evidence was being compromised.

    July 20, 2014

  • Without radar, missile may not have identified jet

    If Ukrainian rebels shot down the Malaysian jetliner, killing 298 people, it may have been because they didn’t have the right systems in place to distinguish between military and civilian aircraft, experts said Saturday.
    American officials said Friday that they believe the Boeing 777 was brought down by an SA-11 missile fired from an area of eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists.

    July 20, 2014

  • U.S.: Can’t rule out Russian role in plane downing

    U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power told an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Friday that the United States cannot rule out that Russia helped in the launch of the surface-to-air missile that shot down a Malaysia Airlines jet over eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board.

    July 19, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Editor's Picks
House Ads