Egypt’s Morsy, Muslim Brotherhood face probe; plans begin for new government

Updated 6:34 AM EDT, Sun July 14, 2013

Story highlights

Interim premier will begin meetings Sunday to form a government by midweek

Morsy and Muslim Brotherhood leaders are being investigated in alleged killings

Morsy was ousted from power on July 3 in a military coup

The State Department has asked that Morsy be released

(CNN) —  

Egypt is putting the judicial heat on deposed President Mohamed Morsy and the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group that dominated his government.

The state prosecutor decided to open the investigation after receiving complaints against Morsy and several leaders of his Freedom and Justice Party, the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, said Deputy Prosecutor General Adel al-Said.

The accused “committed crimes of spying (communicating) with foreign entities with the intent of harming national interest,” the complaints say.

Meanwhile, interim Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi will meet with Cabinet nominees Sunday and Monday in an effort to complete formation of a new government by Tuesday or Wednesday, EGYNews said.

The new Cabinet may include nearly 30 ministers, and some members of the previous government would remain in the new administration, according to EGYNews. The new government will also include two deputy prime ministers: one for security affairs and one for economic affairs, according to an El-Beblawi statement reported by EGYNews.

Egypt - what’s next?

Morsy and his party were ousted in a military coup on July 3.

On Friday, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said she agreed with the German foreign minister’s call for Morsy to be released.

Psaki said the detentions of Morsy and members of the Muslim Brotherhood were “politically motivated” and urged the military to let them go.

“It is, of course, up to the Egyptian people, as we’ve said a number of times, to determine their future and the path forward,” she said. “We are working with the interim government, and we – and I can also confirm for you that Ambassador Patterson has met with the interim president, as well.”

Anne Patterson is the U.S. ambassador to Egypt.

Egypt: Fast Facts

Though Morsy was elected president a year ago, Psaki said, “it’s about more than what happens at the ballot box. Most democratic transitions take years to take root and stabilize, especially following decades of autocratic rule. And what we’re focused on now is continuing to encourage that process to move forward by including all sides.”

Asked about the administration’s failure to describe the ouster as a coup, Psaki said, “We have not defined it yet. We are taking the time to evaluate and continue to do that.”

Identifying Morsy’s forced removal from office by the military as a coup could require the United States to suspend its $1.3 billion in annual military aid to the country, which has been a strong U.S. ally in the Middle East.

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, has called for such a move.

Reporter notebook: Morsy a victim of Egypt’s revolution of the mind

The tens of thousands of people who had rallied Friday in front of a Cairo mosque calling not only for Morsy’s release but for his restoration to the job of president had thinned Saturday as supporters erected tents and appeared to be settling in for a long stay.

Fifty-one people died there Monday when protesters clashed with security forces who opened fire.

Many of Morsy’s supporters have vowed they will risk their lives to see him back in power.

Those backing his overthrow have been unpersuaded.

A Pentagon source said Thursday that the White House planned to deliver four F-16 fighters to Egypt but was reviewing its military aid arrangements.

White House: No immediate cut in U.S. aid to Egypt

CNN’s Schams Elwazer reported from Cairo.