Leaked phone conversations allegedly between members of Egypt’s armed forces revealed that former president Mohammed Morsi was held illegally in a military navy base for several months after his ouster, claimed Morsi’s defence lawyer Montaser Al-Zaeat in court on Saturday.
The military figures also discussed ways to cover up the detention and falsify information related to his whereabouts, alleged the lawyer during the trial in which Morsi is facing allegations of espionage.
The leaked phone calls were initially aired on the pro-Muslim Brotherhood channel “Mekamelin” on Thursday.
In the recordings, it is said that Morsi was held in a maximum security navy prison in Abu Qir, contrary to a law that forbids the detention of civilians in military prisons. Morsi was then transferred to Burg Al-Arab Prison in Alexandria in November 2013.
Lawyer Mohamed Hafez said that if it is proven Morsi was kept in a military base after his arrest then it is a violation of the law. However, he added that if this is proven, it only invalidates Morsi’s detention and not the trial. That means that he would be released and the trial would continue.
Hafez said it is necessary to clarify the whereabouts of Morsi from the day of his arrest. The former president’s whereabouts were not disclosed by authorities from the day of his ouster in July 2013 to November of that year, when he first appeared in court. Hafez said the way he was arrested was in violation of the law.
Hafez said “in order for the court to recognise these recordings, they must have been recorded and broadcasted in a legal manner”. Hafez therefore believes that it is unlikely that these recordings will be considered as evidence.
One official heard on the tape allegedly proposed to build a new structure that mimicked the first one in which Morsi was held. He asked for the construction of a new building surrounded by a wall in a location near the navy prison in Abu Qir.
Another official heard on the tape then took the responsibility to carry out this plan. In other recorded conversations he can be heard showing the pictures of the building “now ready to be visited by the lawyers” to disprove their claims that Morsi was being held in a military prison instead of one run by the Ministry of Interior.
In the 30-minutes recording, yet another is heard saying that Morsi’s lawyers claim that the military have kidnapped him (Morsi) and detained him in an illegal place. The illegality of the arrest is confirmed and further explains the necessity and urgency of changing the name of the building in which Morsi was detained by “placing a sign” on which a new name for the building will be written on it.
State owned Al-Ahram reported a statement made by the general prosecution saying that efforts “to detect those who were involved in fabricating the recordings” are underway. The prosecution also added those “those involved in the fabrication will be brought to criminal trial”.
No official statement was issued by the Egyptian military on the leaks.