Mohammed Morsi
Mohammed MorsiAFP photo

Former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi is officially under criminal investigation, the public prosecutor announced in a statement Saturday.

Although not yet formally charged, prosecutors said they were looking into complaints of incitement to violence, spying and ruining the economy.

The charges are similar to those leveled against eight other top figures in the Muslim Brotherhood organization that backed Morsi’s rise to power a year ago, including its leader, Mohamed Badie.

It is not yet clear whether Badie’s arrest is linked to recent calls for an “uprising” by the Muslim Brotherhood that followed the killing of more than 40 protesters outside the facility where Morsi is being held. 

Morsi was toppled from power by the Egyptian Army on July 3 after days of protests that followed submission of a petition demanding his resignation, signed by 22 million citizens, on the anniversary of his election.

The former Islamist president is currently being held incommunicado by the Egyptian army, but has not yet been formally charged with any crime.

Germany and the United States told Egypt’s new government on Friday to release Morsi, amid the mounting tensions between his supporters and opponents. 

“We call for an end to the restrictions on Mr. Morsi’s whereabouts,” a German foreign ministry spokesperson told a news conference, according to the AFP news service. He called for access to the former president by a “trusted institution” such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). 

“We and our partners are of the opinion that any appearance of selective justice in Egypt must be avoided and there must be no political persecution,” he said. “That is not only an expression of our principles on the rule of lawbut also our conviction that any form of political persecution would be damaging for the future of Egypt,” he added. 

The United States later joined Germany, with State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki telling reporters at a briefing the U.S. was “publicly” making the same request, according to AFP

The Brotherhood, a worldwide movement also responsible for the formation of the Gaza-based Hamas terrorist organization, has called the overthrow a coup that reversed legitimate democracy.

In 2007, Hamas seized control of Gaza in a bloody militia war with the rival Fatah faction, effectively splitting the region from the rest of the Palestinian Authority by setting up a separatist government.