BEIRUT

Middle East

Egypt's ousted Morsi says jail-break trial is 'void'

This image made from video provided by Egypt's Interior Ministry shows ousted President Mohammed Morsi speaking from the defendant's cage as he stands with co-defendants in a makeshift courtroom during a trial hearing in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, Nov. 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Egyptian Interior Ministry)

CAIRO: Egypt's deposed President Mohammad Morsi on Saturday rejected the right of a court to try him and other Muslim Brotherhood leaders on charges related to a mass jail break in 2011, security and judicial sources said.

Morsi and his comrades, including the Brotherhood's top leader Mohamed Badie, are charged with killing and kidnapping policemen, attacking police facilities and breaking out of jail during the 2011 uprising against Hosni Mubarak.

"As far as I'm concerned, these procedures are void and I don't accept them," Morsi said, describing himself as the president of the republic and calling on the Egyptian people to continue their "peaceful revolution," according to the sources.

Some of the other roughly 130 defendants, who were held in a different courtroom cage from Morsi, applauded him and chanted "Down with military rule". It is not unusual for high-profile defendants to be locked up in cages in Egyptian courts.

The authorities have fiercely suppressed the Brotherhood since army chief, Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi toppled Morsi in July following mass protests against him. Thousands of Morsi supporters have been jailed and hundreds killed.

The case was adjourned to Feb. 24 after the lawyers defending Muslim cleric Safwat Hegazy asked for the judges to be replaced, a matter pending approval from another court.

One lawyer, Mohamed Abou Layla, said the request had been made because the court was not cooperating with the defence team. Another said the judges had refused a request to remove the glass cage to allow defendants to follow proceedings better.

Egypt's authorities have levelled five sets of charges at Morsi, including insulting the judiciary, inciting the killing of protesters and international conspiracy. Morsi could face the death penalty. The Muslim Brotherhood, which renounced violence decades ago, has said it views Morsi as a political prisoner.

In a separate case, a court in Alexandria acquitted six policemen accused of killing dozens of protesters in 2011.

 

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Summary

Egypt's deposed President Mohammad Morsi on Saturday rejected the right of a court to try him and other Muslim Brotherhood leaders on charges related to a mass jail break in 2011, security and judicial sources said.

Some of the other roughly 130 defendants, who were held in a different courtroom cage from Morsi, applauded him and chanted "Down with military rule".

Egypt's authorities have levelled five sets of charges at Morsi, including insulting the judiciary, inciting the killing of protesters and international conspiracy. Morsi could face the death penalty.


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