Egypt to try son of ousted president for drugs
CAIRO (AP) -- Prosecutors referred the youngest son of Egypt's ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi to trial Monday on charges of drug use and possession, an accusation his family dismisses as an attempt to tarnish their image.
Moumin Salman, a prosecutor in the Nile Delta city of Benha, ordered that 20-year-old Abdullah Morsi, a university freshman, and his friend be tried before a criminal court. A date has not yet been set for the trial.
According to police accounts, Morsi's son was arrested with his friend on March 1 after a local patrol became suspicious of a parked car on the side of the road on the east edge of Cairo. After a search, the officers told prosecutors, the police found two rolled hashish cigarettes in their car. The police say first Morsi and his friend refused to take a drug test, but later agreed and were then released.
The family said the charges are fabricated, and aim to defame Morsi's family. Abdullah's older brother, Osama, told The Associated Press at the time that he had received warnings from officials that members of the family will now be targeted for prosecution.
The ousted president has been detained since the military overthrew him in July following mass protests against him. He has since been put on trial on several charges, including conspiring with foreign groups, inciting his supporters to murder protesters, and organizing a campaign of violence in Egypt. Thousands of members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the group to which Morsi belongs, have also been arrested and many are facing trials. But his family has largely been spared the crackdown.
Authorities accuse Morsi and his supporters of seeking to destabilize the country following his ouster, blaming them for the violence that has spiked since July.
Also on Monday, Judge Hassan Rashad sentenced 10 Brotherhood supporters to a year in prison on charges of holding a protest that the prosecution said sought to disrupt voting in a referendum on the constitution amended after Morsi's ouster.
Those sentenced include a journalist who worked at the group's newspaper. It has been suspended and only has an online version.
The journalist was covering the rally, which took place in the Cairo district of Shubra. Clashes between the protesters and security erupted during the protest.