A Cairo criminal court on Thursday recused itself in a case of deadly Cairo clashes during the 2011 unrest that followed the ouster of autocrat Honsi Mubarak, judicial sources told Ahram Online.
A mere 20 defendants out of a total 269 attended the Thursday hearing, with the rest having been released pending investigation.
The measure is expected to further prolong the case which, like Mubarak's trial among many others, is already delayed by a protracted judicial system.
The defendants face charges of assaulting military and police personnel, storming and vandalising public property – including the Cabinet headquarters – as well as scorching and destroying a nearby historic research centre.
At least 19 were killed and hundreds injured two days earlier when, on 16 December, army forces violently dispersed a three-week sit-in staged by hundreds of demonstrators at the Cabinet headquarters in protest against the military junta that took power after Mubarak's removal and their appointment of the premier who served under him.
Mubarak is currently being retried for complicity in the killing of protesters during the 2011 uprising that ended his 30-year rule. He is now under house arrest at a military hospital in a Cairo suburb.