8 January 2014

Egypt: Weather Delays Restart in Mohammed Morsi's Trial

Authorities say bad weather is to blame for the delay in the murder trial of former Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi. ( Resource: Mohammed Morsi's Murder Trial Postponed In Egypt )

The trial of Egypt's ousted president Mohammed Morsi has been delayed until February. He was due to face a Cairo court on charges of inciting protester deaths, but bad weather prevented his arrival.

Deposed Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi was to arrive by helicopter to the court on Wednesday morning local time. The helicopter could not depart from the Alexandria prison in which he is held due to fog, however, and the trial has again been delayed - this time until February 1.

The former president - Egypt's only democratically-elected ruler, who was deposed by the military in July after major public protests - is charged with inciting the deaths of protesters in December 2012 opposing his government during his time in office.

His trial, also involving 14 alleged accomplices, was adjourned on November 4 and was due to resume on Wednesday.

Morsi also faces two other trials, one of them pertaining to his 2011 escape from prison during the popular uprising that toppled his longstanding predecessor, Hosni Mubarak.

The Muslim Brotherhood organization that helped bring Morsi to power, now labeled a terrorist group by Egypt's military-backed interim rulers, had called for a "million-man march" to coincide with the hearing.

Morsi's ousting was met with major, prolonged public protests - demonstrations the security forces eventually quashed by force. More than 1,000 people have been killed since Morsi's removal from power, hundreds of them on August 14 when two major camps were cleared.

Many other leading members of the Brotherhood have been arrested since the group - long illegal under Mubarak's rule - was again outlawed.

Morsi narrowly won a runoff election in June 2012 after a divisive campaign against Ahmed Shafik, claiming just under 52 percent of the vote. Buoyed in particular by rural support, he endured a difficult first year in office after the Egyptian uprising, especially in the capital Cairo. The military in July removed him from office after major public protests against his government, the largest of which were held in Cairo.

On January 14 and 15, Egypt will hold a referendum on a new constitution with the Brotherhood and its allies urging citizens to boycott a vote they consider illegitimate. Dissatisfaction with a proposed constitution formed and approved at referendum during Morsi's tenure was a key contributing factor in his downfall.

msh/ph (AFP, AP, dpa)

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