Egypt to start mass trial of Morsi supporters

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IOL pic nov27 egypt morsi file Reuters Ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi. File picture: Amr Abdallah Dalsh


Cairo - More than 1 200 supporters of Egypt's Mohamed Morsi will face charges starting from Saturday, the country's biggest trial since the Islamist president's ouster by the army in July, judicial sources said.

The mass trial is part of a crackdown by Egypt's military-installed authorities targeting Morsi's Islamist supporters who remain steadfast in demanding his reinstatement.

Morsi, Egypt's first elected and civilian president, was removed by the army on July 3. His ouster triggered widespread unrest across a deeply polarised country.

About 500 defendants will be tried on Saturday, and another 700 are to face charges on Tuesday, the sources said.

It was unclear how many of the accused would appear at the courts in person, as the judicial sources said around 200 of the defendants are in detention, while others are either out on bail or are on the run.

Some websites close to Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood movement said the trial would be held in six separate courts in Minya, south of the capital.

Among the defendants in Saturday's trial will be the supreme guide of the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood, Mohammed Badie, the sources said.

The alleged attacks on individuals and public property are said to have taken place in southern Egypt in August, after security forces broke up two Cairo protest camps set up by Morsi supporters.

The defendants are also charged with committing acts of violence that led to the deaths of two policemen in Minya, the sources said.

Hundreds of people died in the August 14 assault on the two Cairo protest camps and in subsequent clashes that day.

Amnesty International says at least 1 400 people have been killed in violence across Egypt since then, while thousands more have been arrested.

Morsi is himself currently on trial in three different cases, including one for inciting the killing of protesters outside a presidential palace during his presidency.

Morsi was removed from power after just one year in office following mass street protests against his rule amid allegations of power grabbing and worsening an already weak economy. - Sapa-AFP

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