'Rabaa dispersal' trial adjourned to Feb due to lack of cage space

Ahram Online , Saturday 12 Dec 2015

739 defendants are facing charges relating to the pro-Morsi Rabaa protest camp in 2013

Rabaah al-Adawiya
File Photo: Egyptian Army soldiers stand guard outside the Rabaah El-Adawiya mosque, in the center of the largest protest camp of supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi, that was cleared by security forces in the district of Nasr City, in Cairo, Egypt, Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013 (AP)

A Cairo criminal court on Saturday adjourned to February the court case known as the Rabaa dispersal trial, which includes a number of senior Muslim Brotherhood figures.

A total of 739 defendants are facing charges in the case, including the Brotherhood's Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie, and Egyptian photojournalist Mahmoud Abo-Zeid, known as Shawkan, who has been detained awaiting trial for over two years. Shawkan has said he is not affiliated with the Brotherhood.

The case was adjourned to 6 February as the expansion of the defendants' cage had not been completed.

During the court session, the presiding judge read a statement from Cairo security directorate to the effect that the defendants would not be able to attend the trial due to the unfinished cage expansion.

The court also ordered also the arrest of all "fugitives" charged in the case, including Osama Mohamed Morsi, the son of former president Mohamed Morsi.

The defendants are charged with "organising and participating in an armed mob at Rabaa Al-Adawiya square, blocking off roads, restricting people's right of movement, the use of force, premeditated murder, the possession of weapons and bombs", and other charges related to vandalism, the damage of general peace and unity, and resisting authorities.

After the Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi was ousted from the presidency in July 2013, supporters of the Brotherhood and other Islamist groups held protest sit-ins, the largest of these in Cairo's Rabaa Al-Adawiya square. Security personnel forcibly dispersed the massive protest camp in August 2013, leaving hundreds dead.

Since Morsi's ouster courts have issued a number of mass sentences in cases against Brotherhood loyalists.

Much of the Muslim Brotherhood leadership has been imprisoned after being found guilty of a range of violent crimes ranging from espionage to inciting violence. 

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