25 Aug 2013

Egypt: Hosni Mubarak and Muslim Brotherhood trials adjourned

Ousted President Hosni Mubarak and senior Muslim Brotherhood leaders, who face charges relating to protesters’ deaths, have their hearings postponed.

Mr Mubarak, who left prison on Thursday after judges ordered his release, appeared in a courtroom cage in a wheelchair, wearing sunglasses and dressed in white.

The former president was sentenced to life in prison last year for complicity in the killing of protesters during the revolt against him, but an appeals court ordered a retrial.

Mr Mubarak has been in detention since April 2011, two months after he was ousted in an uprising against his rule.

He was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison last year for failing to stop the killing of some 900 protesters in the 18-day uprising, but his sentence was overturned on appeal.

In April, his retrial opened along with those of his security chief and six top police commanders.

The judge leading the case announced that the trial has has now been adjourned to September 14.

Mohammed Badie (G)

Mohammed Badie

Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie and five other members of the Islamist group had hearings postponed until October 29 on Sunday.

The defendants, two of whom are still in hiding and being tried in absentia, are accused in relation to clashes outside the Brotherhood’s Cairo headquarters on June 30 that left nine dead.

The four in detention were not present in the downtown Cairo courtroom for security reasons.

Read more: What will happen to the Muslim Brotherhood now?

They were arrested over the last month as part of a massive crackdown on the Brotherhood following the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi, who hails from the group, and related violence.

The six Brotherhood members, including Mr Badie and his deputies Khairat el-Shater and Rashad Bayoumi, are charged with instigating the killings of nine protesters on June 30, when millions took to the streets demanding the ouster of President Morsi.

The killings took place near the Brotherhood’s east Cairo headquarters, which was attacked by an allegedly anti-Morsi crowd.

Dozens of Brotherhood members were trapped inside the building for hours and it was eventually set on fire.

Pro-Morsi rallies

The military toppled President Morsi three days later, then launched a massive crackdown on the Islamist movement, arresting top leaders including el-Shater and Bayoumi, and shut down Islamic TV networks.

On August 14, riot police backed by armored vehicles and bulldozers moved to clear two sprawling encampments of Morsi’s supporters, sparking days of violence that left more than 1000 people dead across the country.

Read more: Egypt crisis 'most important event of 21st century' - Hague

The interim presidency declared a monthlong state of emergency. Badie and hundreds including field organizers were arrested in the aftermath.

The most recent arrest took place Sunday when authorities arrested the son of leading Brotherhood figure Mohammed el-Beltagy in the city of Beni Suef, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of Cairo, along with four other group members.