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Egypt court delays Morsi trial over jailbreak

Updated: 2014-01-29 09:29
( Xinhua)

Egypt court delays Morsi trial over jailbreak

Military supporters demonstrate outside a police academy where ousted Islamic president Mohamed Morsi is trialed in Cairo, Egypt, on Jan 28, 2014. Egypt's Cairo Criminal Court decided to adjourn the trial of Morsi and some 130 others over the 2011 jailbreak to Feb. 22, state TV reported on Tuesday. [Photo/Xinhua]

CAIRO - An Egyptian criminal court decided to delay the trial of ousted president Mohamed Morsi and 130 others over the 2011 jailbreak to Feb 22, state television reported on Tuesday.

The defense asked to postpone the trial to study the case documents.

Earlier Tuesday, Morsi, in his second public appearance since his detainment, stood trial for escaping from the Wady al-Natroun prison and kidnapping and killing police officers during the 2011 uprising with the assistance of domestic and foreign forces.

Some 130 others, members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Palestinian Hamas movement and the Lebanese Shiite military party Hezbollah, were tried with Morsi mostly in absentia.

State television footage showed Morsi, dressed in a white prison uniform, in the court along with 21 other defendants, including the Brotherhood's supreme guide Mohamed Badie, his two deputies Khairat al-Shater and Mahmoud Ezzat, and former Parliament Speaker Saad al-Katatni.

The prosecution said 70 defendants were Palestinians.

More than 20,000 prisoners escaped from prisons in 2011, and investigations revealed that Brotherhood leaders, the ousted president, Islamist Hamas movement and Hezbollah were communicating to "spread chaos, storm prisons and train militants in Egypt."

Official news agency MENA reported that Morsi was flown by a helicopter from Borg al-Arab prison in Alexandria to the headquarters of the Police Academy in Cairo where the trial is taking place.

While the prosecution read the list of accusations, Morsi and the other Islamist defendants shouted, "null and void trial."

Presiding Judge Shaaban El-Shami urged them to keep silent, as Morsi and the judge traded heated rhetoric.

Morsi, who declares himself Egypt's legitimate president, originally refused a lawyer, saying he views the entire trial as illegitimate despite the fact that on Tuesday Sileem al-Awaa, an Islamist ex-presidential candidate, was assigned to defend him.

Outside the courtroom, security measures were beefed up and more than 60 armored vehicles and 8,000 security personnel have been deployed, the state TV report added.

Meanwhile, clashes erupted between supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and local residents in Ramsis Square downtown the capital.

Brotherhood backers were accused of throwing Molotov Cocktails at parked cars, and security forces fired tear gas to disperse the crowds.

Following the dispersal of the protesters, MENA said a home- made explosive device was found in a black bag in the vicinity of the High Court House near Cairo's iconic Tahrir Square, but the explosive experts managed to defuse the bomb.

Also, only a few hours before the trial two gunmen on a motorbike killed Police Major General Mohamed Saeed, a senior Egyptian Interior Ministry official, outside his home in Giza, the agency reported.

In another report, one police officer was shot dead reportedly by unknown gunmen, who were attacking a church west of Cairo, state-run Ahram website reported on Tuesday.

Reports of targeted violence and attacks on police and security installations have dramatically increased since Morsi was ousted in July in what his supporters call a "coup."

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces gave Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, whose popularity in Egypt has soared since he led Morsi's ouster, a green light to run for president on Monday.

Sisi is expected to announce his candidacy for the presidency in the coming few days.

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