CAIRO: Ousted Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi is to stand trial in a criminal court for “incitement to deadly violence”.
State television reported that Mr Morsi will stand trial with 14 other suspects in his Muslim Brotherhood movement on charges of “incitement to murder and violence”, relating to deadly clashes in December between his supporters and opponents outside the presidential palace.
Already accused of crimes related to his 2011 escape from prison, Mr Morsi has been held incommunicado at a secret location since he was deposed by the army on July 3.
The co-defendants in the trial include senior Brotherhood figures Mohamed al-Beltagi and leaders such as Essam el-Erian, deputy head of the Freedom and Justice Party, the Brotherhood political wing.
The case dates back to one of the deadliest bouts of violence during Mr Morsi’s one year in office. At least 100,000 protesters gathered outside his presidential palace on Dec. 4, protesting a decree he issued to protect his decisions from judicial oversight and a highly disputed draft constitution that was hurriedly adopted in the Islamist-dominated parliament.
Protesters demanded he call off a referendum scheduled days later. The next day, Islamist groups and supporters of Mr Morsi attacked protesters who camped out there, sparking deadly street battles that left at least 10 dead.
The state news agency said an investigation by prosecutors allegedly revealed that Mr Morsi had asked the Republican Guard and the minister in charge of police to break up the sit-in, but they feared a bloody confrontation and declined. The agency said Mr Morsi’ aides then summoned their supporters to forcefully break up the sit-in.
Egypt’s new rulers have conducted a campaign against the Brotherhood since the former president’s was ousted from office, arresting more than 2,000 members including leader Mohamed Badie.
Brotherhood defendants, including Mr Badie, were due to appear in court on August 25 but kept away for what authorities said were security reasons. A new hearing is to take place on October 29.
Mr Badie and his deputies Khairat al-Shater and Rashad al-Bayoumi face charges related to the deaths of protesters who stormed the Brotherhood’s Cairo headquarters on June 30.Three other Brotherhood members are standing trial with the leaders, accused of carrying out the murders at the end of June. No date has been set for Mr Morsi’s trial.