Egypt's Morsi faces trial for ‘incitement to murder’
State-controlled television announces former president is to stand trial along with 14 fellow members of the Muslim Brotherhood
Ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi is to stand trial in a criminal court for “incitement to murder”, state television reported on Sunday without giving a date for the trial.
It said the former leader would stand trial along with 14 other suspects in the Muslim Brotherhood movement on charges of “incitement to murder and violence” in December last year when deadly clashes broke out between his supporters and opponents outside the presidential palace.
Already accused of crimes related to his 2011 escape from prison, Morsi has been held at a secret location since his removal from power 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’s political wing.
Last December, thousands of demonstrators gathered in front of the presidential palace in Cairo to protest against a presidential decree expanding Morsi’s powers and introducing an Islamist-drafted constitution.
A court in July ordered Morsi’s detention for questioning over alleged ties with Palestinian militants in prison breaks and attacks on police.
Egypt has pursued a fierce campaign against the Brotherhood since the former president’s ouster and effectively decapitated the Islamist group by arresting its supreme guide Mohamed Badie in late August.
Authorities have also arrested more than 2,000 Brotherhood figures since Morsi’s ouster.
Brotherhood defendants, including 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.
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.
Egypt’s interim president Adly Mansour announced on Sunday a panel to draw up a revised constitution. The 50-member panel does not include the Muslim Brotherhood, which has declined to take part.
A top African Union official said the Muslim Brotherhood must join the political road map proposed by Egypt’s new authorities, in a bid to end the violence disrupting the country.
Diletta Mohamed Diletta, former premier of Djibouti and member of an African Union panel currently in Egypt to assess the situation in the country, told reporters it was “important and necessary” the Brotherhood joins the nation’s political process.
The transition plan, set up by Mansour, would see fresh parliamentary elections in the coming months, with a presidential vote possible by early next year.
The Muslim Brotherhood has lost its ability to bring people out in large numbers because of the sweeping arrests that have incarcerated its top leaders.
On Friday several thousand Egyptians protested in Cairo in support of Morsi, far fewer than had been hoped for by the harried Islamists, who had called for mass rallies.
Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically-elected president, served for only a year in office before the military deposed him in the popularly-backed coup in July.