Cairo on lockdown ahead of second session of Morsi trial
Cairo (AsiaNews /
Agencies) - The second session of the trial against the former president
Mohamed Morsi has begun in Cairo. The first hearing was
held last November. The
Islamist leader is accused together with 14 other members of the Muslim
Brotherhood of inciting the killing of anti-Islamist protesters in December
2012 and of plotting terrorist acts with foreign militants, including Hamas and
Hezbollah . Detained
in a maximum security prison in Burg Al-Arab (Alexandria ) , Morsi arrived at the
special court this morning set up within the National Police Academy in Cairo,
the same place where the trial against his predecessor Hosni Mubarak took place. His
lawyers were transported by helicopter to the compound for security reasons.
Local media say that the capital is a city in lockdown. Thousands of police are stationed in front of the court and the main government buildings, to prevent violent demonstrations. In recent days, 11 people died in clashes between police and pro - Morsi protesters. Today the National Coalition created to support the former president made an appeal to all Muslim Brotherhood members to organize demonstrations around the country.
Together with former president the main leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood Mohamed El- Beltagi and Essam El- Erian and 12 others activists and Islamist imams are also on trial. Of these , seven are fugitives .
Mohamed Morsi will be back in court in late January for the trial in which he is accused along with another 130 activists of killing police officers during a mass escape from a prison in Cairo in January 2011.
The imprisonment of the former president has been highly criticized by activists and international human rights organizations who accuse the military of carrying out a "witch hunt" against members of the Muslim Brotherhood . His lawyers have denounced the authority's hostility in not allowing them to speak with their client.
Elected by democratic elections in June 2012, Mohamed Morsi was deposed in July 2013 after only 13 months in office, following a massive popular demonstration which brought an estimated one million people to the streets of Cairo. The army, claiming to respond to the will of the people, as a result imposed Morsi's removal and arrest and promised a road map for a new constitution and free and fair elections. So far Morsi denies all the charges and at the first session of the trial said he was still the legitimate president of Egypt and refused to wear the prison uniform.