• Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Freedom in the air

Morsi trial over Egypt protesters' deaths to resume

BBC Online
Morsi was held in a glassed-in cage for his last court appearance. Photo: AP
Morsi was held in a glassed-in cage for his last court appearance. Photo: AP

Ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has arrived in court in the capital, Cairo, for the resumption of one of the four trials against him.

Morsi and 14 other figures from the Muslim Brotherhood are charged with inciting the killing of protesters near the presidential palace in 2012.

At a hearing in another trial four days ago, a defiant Morsi shouted that he was still the legitimate president.

He was deposed by the army last year after huge crowds rallied against him.

He is now facing four separate criminal trials on various charges.

They are:

- Inciting supporters to commit violence and murder as they tried to break up an opposition protest in Cairo in December 2012
- Conspiring with foreign organisations to commit terrorist acts, with prosecutors accusing Morsi of forming an alliance with the Palestinian militant group Hamas and Lebanon's Hezbollah
- Murdering prison officers in a jailbreak in 2011 during the uprising against the then-President Hosni Mubarak
- Insulting the judiciary

Morsi's Islamist supporters say the charges against him are politically motivated, although officials insist the trials are free and fair.

'KEPT IN A DUMP'

The former president was flown in by helicopter on Saturday morning from his prison in Alexandria.

Heavy security has been deployed outside the National Police Academy compound where the hearing is taking place.

On Friday, riot police fired tear gas at hundreds of Morsi supporters in Cairo and Alexandria and Fayoum, south of the capital.

Islamists have staged regular protests demanding the reinstatement of Morsi but have been met with a heavy crackdown in which hundreds have died.

The Muslim Brotherhood has been declared a terrorist organisation and authorities have punished any public showing of support for it.

Human rights groups have dismissed some of the allegations against Morsi as preposterous.

There were chaotic scenes when he first appeared in court in early November for the trail resuming on Saturday.

Morsi chanted slogans against the current government and the court. He also refused to recognise the court's legitimacy or put on the required prison uniform.

Last Tuesday, Morsi appeared in court at the beginning of a trial over his escape from prison in 2011.

He was accused of organising a mass breakout from the Wadi al-Natrun prison during the uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak, as well as the murder of prison officers.

During that court appearance, from inside a glassed-in defendants' cage, he shouted: "I am the president of the republic, how can I be kept in a dump for weeks?"

Although Morsi won the presidency in a democratic election, he fell out with key institutions during his 13 months in power.

The interim government has since cracked down on the Muslim Brotherhood, arresting thousands of members. At least one thousand people have been killed in clashes with security forces.

Published: 2:51 pm Saturday, February 01, 2014

Last modified: 9:47 pm Saturday, February 01, 2014

TAGS: Egypt Court Mohammad Morsi Trial

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