ElBaradei to face trial for disloyalty

ElBaradei to face trial for disloyalty
Wed Aug 21, 2013 12:53:24

Egypt's former vice president Mohamed ElBaradei, will be sued in court for a "betrayal of trust" over his decision to quit the army-backed interim government in protest at its bloody crackdown on protesters.

The case, brought by an Egyptian law professor, will be heard in a Cairo court on September 19, judicial sources said on Tuesday.

ElBaradei, the former head of the UN nuclear agency and co-leader of the secular National Salvation Front, was the most prominent liberal to endorse the military's overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi on August 3 following mass protests.

But on August 14 he announced his resignation after security forces used excessive force to crush the protest camps set up by supporters of ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi in Cairo, killing hundreds of people.

The military's intervention against Morsi has polarized public opinion in Egypt and around 900 people have died in violence across the country over the past week.

The case on ElBaradei was filed by Sayyed Ateeq, a law professor at Helwan University.

"I raised a case against Dr. ElBaradei. He was appointed in his capacity as a representative of the NSF and the majority of the people who signed the Tamarod declaration," he told Reuters, referring to the coalition that led the anti-Morsi protests.

"Dr. ElBaradei was entrusted with this position and he had a duty to go back to those who entrusted him and ask to resign."

Ateeq said that, if found guilty, ElBaradei could face a three year jail sentence.

But a judicial source said the maximum sentence that could be imposed in a case of this kind was a fine and a suspended jail term.

ElBaradei left Egypt earlier this week for Europe and is unlikely to attend any hearing in this case.

The lawsuit follows a wave of arrests of Muslim Brotherhood leaders in recent days and a decision by the public prosecutor to charge Morsi, who is being detained in an undisclosed location, with inciting violence.

Khaled Dawoud, a former aide to ElBaradei who joined him in quitting the National Salvation Front following the crackdown, said any decision to try the Nobel peace prize winner would be a political escalation against critics of the military crackdown.

"If this case against ElBaradei is true then it is a major escalation showing that things are getting very polarized. You're either on this side or on that side," he told Reuters.

"Things took a very different turn from what someone like myself expected when I took part in the June 30 demonstrations against Morsi."

Egypt has been experiencing unrelenting violence since July 3, when the army toppled Morsi, the first democratically elected Egyptian head of state, and suspended the constitution and dissolved the parliament.

It also appointed the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court, Adly Mahmoud Mansour, as the new interim president.

The interim government in Egypt has been facing international condemnation over the killing of protesters.


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