Egypt yesterday announced a criminal investigation against deposed Islamist president Mohamed Mursi, with prosecutors saying they were examining complaints of spying, inciting violence and ruining the economy.
Egypt’s first freely-elected leader has been held at an undisclosed location since the army removed him from power on July 3, but has not yet been charged with any crime. In recent days Washington has called for him to be freed and for the authorities to stop arresting leaders of his Muslim Brotherhood.
The public prosecutor’s office said in a statement it had received complaints against Mursi, eight other named Islamist figures including the Brotherhood’s leader, Mohamed Badie, and others it did not identify.
The military says it deposed Mursi in a justified response to popular demand after millions of people demonstrated against him. The Brotherhood says it was a coup that reversed democracy.
Complaints such as those against Mursi are a first step in the criminal process, allowing prosecutors to begin an investigation that can lead to charges. Announcing the step was unusual: typically prosecutors wait until charges are filed.
The prosecutors did not say who had made the complaints. Egyptian law allows them to investigate complaints from police or any member of the public.