• 16:19
  • Wednesday ,15 October 2014

Mursi's aide referred to trial for appointing a convicted "terrorist"

By Aswat Masriya

Copts and Poliltical Islam


Wednesday ,15 October 2014

Mursi's aide referred to trial for appointing a convicted

Egypt's top prosecutor referred on Tuesday one of the aides of ousted Islamist President Mohamed Mursi to the criminal court for "illegally" appointing a convicted "terrorist" at the presidency during his tenure.

Rifaa El-Tahtawi, Mursi's chief of staff, is accused by Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat of "abusing his position" to appoint a "terrorist", al-Sayed Rifai, to the position of national expert at the presidency's central administration.

Rifai is a convicted "terrorist", the prosecution said in a statement on Tuesday. He served 15 years in prison for crimes which include joining a "terrorist" organisation, torching, vandalising, possessing arms and attacking citizens, among other charges.

The prosecutor general accused Tahtawi of violating the rules of appointing presidency staff since he appointed Rifai without running a background check on him. When Tahtawi's deputy pointed out in a memorandum that Rifai is not eligible for the post due to his earlier conviction, the prosecutor said, the chief of staff disregarded the memorandum and insisted on the appointment.

The prosecution said the incident is part of a larger case of Muslim Brotherhood members appointed by Mursi within the presidency. Such members, the prosecution added, had in turn appointed "terrorists" to "important positions" within the state.

"This is one of the most dangerous cases of corruption committed by the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood," the prosecution's statement read.

Tahtawi is not an official member of Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood, which was listed by the government as a terrorist organisation last December. He is a former spokesman of Egypt's top religious authority al-Azhar. He also served as a diplomat within the foreign ministry.

The presidential aide is already facing trial, alongside Mursi and 34 others, for espionage, disclosing state secrets to foreign countries, funding terrorism, conducting military training to serve an international branch of the Brotherhood, and "endangering the independence, unity and safety of the state."

He also faced prosecution for complicity in the killing of protesters who died in clashes outside the presidential palace in December 2012. The prosecution nevertheless ordered his release, eliminating him from the list of defendants in the case.