An Egyptian court decided Monday to retry Mahmoud Ezzat, the former acting leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, on charges of spying for the Palestinian Hamas movement. 

According to Egyptian media including the state-owned Akhbar Alyoum newspaper, Ezzat appeared at the first session of the retrial in a court at the Tora Courts Complex in Cairo for allegedly collaborating with Hamas.

The case is claimed to have taken place during the events of Egypt’s popular revolution in January 2011 in which the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Lebanese Hezbollah were accused of creating chaos in Egypt to topple the state.

In June 2015, the same court sentenced 20 people including Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie to life in prison and handed death sentences to Ezzat, Muslim Brotherhood deputy leader Khairat al-Shater and 13 others for collaborating with Hamas.

On Thursday, an Egyptian court also sentenced Ezzat to life in prison in another case.

Ezzat, 77, was arrested in August 2020 after being in hiding since 2013 at an apartment in eastern Cairo, where he took the position of acting leader of the group after Mohammed Badie was arrested in August 2013. Ezzat was succeeded by Ibrahim Mounir to lead the group from abroad.

Following the ouster of former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, Egyptian authorities persecuted Muslim Brotherhood members and leaders and outlawed the group.

*Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara

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