Egypt jails retired general for damaging national security
CAIRO - An Egyptian court has jailed a retired general for claiming the nation's spies deliberately fed now-deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi false intelligence because he was a "traitor," state media reported Thursday.
Tharwat Guda, a former officer in general intelligence, was jailed for a year Wednesday in a military trial sparked by a complaint from his former institution that he had disclosed information "damaging to national security."
Unclear is how he could know anything about the matter, as he retired in 2010, the year before long-time president Hosni Mubarak was driven from power and Morsi elected to replace him.
At issue was an interview he gave to private newspaper Al-Watan in September, state news agency MENA reported.
When asked whether the intelligence services had "conspired" against Morsi by feeding him false information, he said: "No. The intelligence services did not conspire against Morsi, it was he who conspired against Egypt.
"We knew he was a traitor even before he became president, so why give him information?"
The army ousted Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected president, in July 2013 after only a year in power, as millions demanded his resignation for allegedly monopolising power and ruining an already dilapidated economy.
But Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters have claimed that state institutions and services worked in a way to ensure that his presidency was a failure.
Guda claims Al-Watan misquoted him, but the daily says it is ready to release the audio recording of his interview.
Since Morsi's ouster, the new authorities led by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi are regularly accused by rights groups of using the judiciary to repress Islamist backers of Morsi.
Morsi himself is on trial in three separate cases, including one on charges of espionage in which he is accused of conspiring with the Palestinian Hamas movement and Shiite Iran to destabilise Egypt.
He will also be tried in a separate case for leaking documents of national security to Qatar, a key backer of his erstwhile government.
A government crackdown targeting Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood movement since his ouster has left more than 1,400 people dead, thousands jailed and hundreds sentenced to death.