A group of prominent Muslim scholars has denounced the trial of Egypt's deposed president Mohamed Morsi and called on the country's interim leaders to restore "legitimacy."
The International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), headed by cleric Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, said in a statement on Tuesday that Morsi supporters should continue their protests until he is reinstated.
"[The union] calls upon the Egyptian army and its civil associates who led the coup to restore legitimacy and the constitutional institutions that were elected by the people," the statement said.
Morsi, who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood, was deposed by the army on 3 July amid massive nationwide protests against his rule. Since then his supporters have been calling for his reinstatement as the "legitimate" leader of Egypt, saying the army staged a coup against him.
Morsi, along with 14 other Brotherhood figures, are on trial for allegedly inciting the killing of protesters during clashes at the Ittihadiya presidential palace in December 2012.
The Islamist leader's first session in court took place on Monday.
The union also called upon Arab, Islamic and international rights organisations to "support the Egyptian people's struggle to reinstate legitimacy and stand against anyone who assaults it."
Al-Qaradawi, one of the most prominent Egyptian Sunni academics in modern history, has come under fire for backing Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, and lambasting the army for his "ouster."
Some scholars at Al-Azhar, Egypt's highest Islamic institution, have called for stripping Al-Qaradawi of his Egyptian nationality.
Security forces have launched a crackdown on the Brotherhood since Morsi's ouster, arresting hundreds of members and putting its leaders on trial, mainly on charges of inciting violence. They also forcibly dispersed two pro-Morsi sit-ins in Cairo in August, leaving nearly 1000 people dead in a wave of violence that followed.