Trial delayed
THE TRIAL of ousted president Mohamed Morsi and ten others on charges of spying for Qatar was adjourned to 25 March, the state-owned news agency MENA reported. The Cairo Criminal Court decided to examine the evidence further on Monday.
Morsi faces charges of using his post to leak classified documents to Qatar, with the help of secretaries and other defendants. Egypt has accused Qatar of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, especially through its news network Al-Jazeera, claims that Doha has denied.
Morsi is facing other charges, including a separate case of espionage, escape from prison during the January 25 Revolution and inciting his supporters to kill protesters opposed to his rule during his time in office.
Caught red-handed
THE HEAD of the Museums Sector at the Ministry of Antiquities, Ahmed Sharaf, was arrested on Monday on a charge of bribery. Sharaf was meeting with a Greek-Egyptian contractor when the police arrested him at his office in the sector’s downtown headquarters.
Sharaf was accused of taking a bribe from the contractor to award his company a contract for the restoration of the Museum of Islamic Art, thereby contravening the project contract signed by the ministry and representatives of the UAE government, which is funding the project.
The Museum of Islamic Art sustained serious damage after a car bomb exploded outside the Cairo Security Directorate, adjacent to the museum, in January 2014. The museum has been under restoration for more than a year. According to a source at the ministry, speaking on condition of anonymity, Sharaf has been taken into custody and his office closed. Elham Salah, the director of regional museums, is now temporarily in charge of the sector.
Still targeted
TWO Egyptian soldiers were killed on Tuesday when a roadside bomb struck their armoured vehicle in North Sinai, a bastion of Islamist insurgency. Six other soldiers were wounded in the explosion.
Security sources told Reuters the attack took place near the village of Al-Kharouba. Suspected militants remotely detonated a bomb as security forces were patrolling the area.
The northern part of the Sinai Peninsula, bordering Israel and the Palestinian Gaza strip, has long been a haven for Islamist insurgents. Militant violence, mainly based in the mountainous region, has increased since the 2013 ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.
Attacks and bombs by militants have killed hundreds in the past 18 months, most of them security forces in North Sinai, while smaller-scale bombings and shootings have become commonplace in the capital and other parts of the country.