A Mursi supporter, wrapped in an Egyptian flag, sits
on top of power pole during a protest in Cairo.
'Trial of two regimes' in Egypt
Cairo, August 25, 2013
Three leaders of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and the movement's former arch-foe Hosni Mubarak faced separate trials on Sunday on similar charges of involvement in the killing of protesters.
With Egypt now under an army-installed government after last month's overthrow of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi, local media seized on the symbolism of scheduling both sessions on the same day. "Trial of two regimes," headlined Al-Shorouk daily.
In the end, Mohamed Badie, the Brotherhood's "General Guide", and his deputies did not appear at the opening of their trial for security reasons, a judicial source said. Citing their absence, the judge adjourned the proceedings until October 29.
The case against Badie, Khairat Al-Shater and Rashad Bayoumy relates to unrest before the army removed Mursi on July 3. Mursi has been detained in an undisclosed location since then.
More than 1,000 people, including about 100 soldiers and police, have died in violence across Egypt since Mursi's fall, making it the bloodiest civil unrest in the republic's 60-year history. Brotherhood supporters say the toll is much higher.
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, along with his jailed sons Gamal and Alaa and former interior minister Habib Al-Adly.
After a hearing that lasted about three hours, the judge set the next session for September 14, pending further investigation.
The former president was sentenced to life in prison last year for complicity in the killing of protesters during the 2011 revolt against him, but an appeals court ordered a retrial.
A helicopter flew Mubarak to the court in the Police Academy on the eastern outskirts of Cairo from a military hospital where he was placed under house arrest after his release from jail.
The government used a state of emergency it declared earlier this month to place Mubarak under house arrest, apparently to forestall any public anger if he had simply walked free.
The trial of the Brotherhood leaders signals that Egypt's new army-backed rulers intend to crush what they have portrayed as a violent, terrorist group bent on subverting the state.
Charges against Badie and his aides include incitement to violence in connection with an anti-Brotherhood protest near the group's Cairo headquarters on July 30 in which nine people were killed and 91 wounded. The 70-year-old Brotherhood chief was detained last week. Shater and Bayoumy were picked up earlier.
Pro-Mursi crowds staged small-scale marches on Friday, but the Brotherhood's street power appears to have faded due to the round-up of its leaders and the bloody dispersal of protest camps set up in Cairo to demand the president's reinstatement.
In a sign of confidence, the government on Saturday relaxed a night-time curfew it had imposed on August 14 when the protest vigils were stormed. The curfew now starts at 9 pm (1900 GMT) instead of 7 pm, except on Fridays, when protests are common.
Mursi's return is not on the cards for now. The army has announced a roadmap for a return to democracy that involves overhauling the constitution adopted under Mursi in late 2012, with parliamentary and presidential elections to follow.
Changes proposed by a government-appointed legal panel would scrap last year's Islamic additions to the constitution and revive a Mubarak-era voting system. Islamists and liberals have expressed alarm about the suggestions. - Reuters
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