Egypt judges quit trial of Muslim Brotherhood leader

Chief Judge Qarmuty before journalists Chief Judge Mohammed Qarmuty has left the trial in a state of uncertainty

The three presiding judges have stepped down at Egypt's trial of Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie and his two aides, halting the proceedings.

Judge Mohammed Fahmy al-Qarmuty said he and his colleagues were retiring from the case for "reasons of conscience".

The move comes days before the trial of the former president, Mohammed Morsi.

He is to stand trial on 4 November, on charges of inciting murder and violence in connection with clashes outside the presidential palace in December 2012.

Mr Badie, the Brotherhood's general guide, and his deputy, Khairat al-Shatir, were arrested in the days following Mr Morsi's overthrow on 3 July.

Mr Badie was a prominent figure at the Brotherhood's protest camps in Cairo, but went into hiding as the military-backed interim government increased its efforts to shut down the protests. He was arrested in August.

Both men, along with Rashad al-Bayoumi, face charges of inciting violence and murder over the deaths of anti-Brotherhood protesters outside the movement's headquarters in Cairo on 30 June.

Mr Morsi's supporters announced on Monday that the former leader had rejected the authority of the court where his trial is due to take place next week.

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