Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Morsi Trial Resumes Amid Heavy Security

Morsi murder trial resumes amid heavy security

Ahram Online, Tuesday 4 Feb 2014

The court adjourned trial until Wednesday and set a date to review video footage of deadly clashes between Morsi supporters and opponents

A Cairo criminal court on Tuesday resumed the trial of ousted president Mohamed Morsi on charges of inciting the killing of protesters during his presidency.

After a short hearing, the trial was adjourned to Wednesday.

The court has also set the date of 1March to review a report on video footage of the deadly clashes between Morsi's supporters and opponents in connection with the charges.

Morsi, who was removed by the army in July amid huge protests against his year-long rule, is currently facing four separate legal cases.

The former president was flown by helicopter from a prison near Alexandria to the heavily guarded courthouse in an eastern Cairo suburb, state news agency MENA said.

His co-defendants were transferredseveral hours earlier from Tora prison on the outskirts of Cairoin armoured vehicles.

Tuesday's hearing is the fourth since the trial started in November.

Morsi, along with 14 others who include presidential aides and Muslim Brotherhood figures, is accused of inciting the killing of opposition protesters outside the presidential palace in late 2012. Almost a dozen people were killed in the violence during protests triggered by a presidential decree that expanded his powers.

The previous session of the trialwas adjourned to allow for further examination of the video evidence.

Other cases against Morsi include charges such as a jailbreak in 2011, colluding with the Palestinian Hamas movement and Lebanon's Hezbollah to carry out a terrorist campaign in Egypt, and insulting the judiciary.

The toppled president has consistently refused to recognise the authority of the courts trying him, and has claimed at previous sessions that he is still Egypt's legitimate president. However, he appointed Mohamed Selim El-Awa as his defence lawyer after several court sessions without a lawyer.

Morsi could face the death penalty if convicted.

Several of the other defendants in Tuesday's hearing, who were standing in a separate glass-encased cage from Morsi, turned their back on the judges, an Ahram Online reporter at the scene said.

Witnesses who are due to give testimony on the violence on Wednesday include the presidential palace's guard commander and guard chief, along with nine others.

Egyptian authorities are mounting a sustained crackdown on Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood movement, which it declared a "terrorist organisation."

Much of the group's upper echelons are behind bars and face trials over charges including inciting violence.

At least 1,400 people, mostly Islamists, have been killed in clashes with security forces and civilian opponents since Morsi's overthrow on 3 July, according to Amnesty International.

Scores of police and soldiers have also been killed in militant attacks that have spread recently from the border Sinai Peninsula to other parts of the country, including Cairo.


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