Egypt announced a criminal investigation on Saturday against deposed Islamist president Mohamed Mursi, with prosecutors saying they were examining complaints of spying, inciting violence and ruining the economy.
Egypt’s first freely elected leader has been held at an undisclosed location since the army removed him from power on July 3, but has not yet been charged with any crime. In recent days Washington has called for him to be freed and for the authorities to stop arresting leaders of his Muslim Brotherhood.
The public prosecutor’s office issued a statement saying it had received complaints against Mursi, eight other named Islamist figures including top Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie, and others it did not identify.
The complaints are a first step in the criminal process, allowing prosecutors to begin an investigation that can lead to charges. Announcing the step was unusual: typically prosecutors wait until charges are filed before making public statements.
Badie and several other Brotherhood officials already face charges for inciting violence that were announced earlier this week, but most of them have not been arrested.
The prosecutors did not say who had made the complaints. Egyptian law allows them to investigate complaints from police or any member of the public.
Mursi’s Brotherhood called on Saturday for more mass demonstrations after a huge march broke up peacefully before dawn, ending a week in which at least 90 people were killed.