Middle East

Mohammed Morsi trial over Egypt protesters' deaths resumes

Mohammad Morsi in court on 28 Jan 2014 Image copyright AP
Image caption Mr Morsi was held in a glassed-in cage for his last court appearance

One of the four trials against ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has resumed in the capital, Cairo.

Mr Morsi reportedly turned his back on the judges, as he stood inside a soundproofed glass box at the hearing.

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

The trial was reopened and adjourned until Tuesday, Egyptian state television reported.

Various charges

At a hearing in another trial last week, a defiant Mr Morsi shouted that he was still the country's 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 Mr 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

Mr Morsi's Islamist supporters say the charges are politically motivated. 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.

Mr Morsi and other defendants were kept inside the glass box during the trial to avoid disruptions.

The state-run Nile News TV channel said the trial had been adjourned to 4 February.

Heavy security was deployed outside the National Police Academy complex where the hearing took place.

Protesters attacked the car of Mr Morsi's lawyer to prevent him from driving into the compound.

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 Mr Morsis's reinstatement, 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 Mr Morsi as preposterous.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Extra security forces have been deployed outside the court in Cairo
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Protesters attacked the car of Mr Morsi's defence team as they drove into the court compound
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption There are regular clashes between supporters and opponents of Mr Morsi in the capital

There were chaotic scenes when he first appeared in court in early November for the trial that resumed on Saturday.

Mr 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, Mr 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 Mr 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.