File Photo: Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie shouts slogans from the defendant's cage during his trial with other leaders of the Brotherhood in a courtroom in Cairo December 11, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)
Defence lawyers for the Muslim Brotherhood's Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie and 50 of the group's leaders withdrew from the first session of a trial on Tuesday in which the defendants are accused of orchestrating violence in the immediate aftermath of the dispersal of a pro-Brotherhood protest camp in Cairo last August.
Judicial sources said that the lawyers withdrew in protest after one of the defendants told the judge he couldn't hear the proceedings and was told to "shut up". The defence team demanded that the incident be detailed in the court transcript, a request that was rejected by the judge, who continued with the trial.
The trial – held in the Police Academy in New Cairo – was adjourned by the court to Sunday. Defence lawyers began procedures to demand a recusal of the judges' panel and also to call for another court to look into the case.
The charges against Badie and the 50 other Brotherhood leaders involve violent events that directly followed the dispersal of the Rabaa Al-Adaweya camp in the east Cairo district of Nasr City, which was forcibly cleared by security forces on 14 August, killing hundreds.
Prosecutors have charged the defendants with setting up an operation room after the dispersal to direct the movements of Brotherhood supporters across the country in plans to defy the state and spread chaos, in addition to plotting attacks on police stations, private property and churches.
Egypt's interim authorities have cracked down on Morsi's supporters following his ouster in July, with the Brotherhood's top leadership and thousands more detained and facing trial on a variety of charges, including terrorism, inciting violence and espionage.
Badie, the head of the recently-outlawed Brotherhood's operations in Egypt, is involved in several other trials.
Morsi himself currently faces four trials on charges that could lead to death penalty.