Egypt shifts Morsi’s trial to Feb 1 due to bad weather

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CAIRO (AFP) -An Egyptian court on Wednesday adjourned the murder trial of deposed president Mohamed Morsi to February 1, citing “weather conditions” that prevented Morsi’s transport to court from his prison.

“Because of the weather conditions, Mohamed Morsi could not be brought, so the trial will be adjourned to February 1,” said presiding judge Ahmed Sabry Youssef.

The murder trial of Egypt’s deposed president Mohamed Morsi was set to resume on Wednesday but poor weather prevented his transport to the Cairo court hence trial delayed to Feb 1 after court absence: state media, police said.

Toppled by the military in July, Morsi is charged with inciting the killings of opposition activists in clashes outside the presidential palace in December 2012.

Nasr al-Abd, a senior police official in Alexandria, told AFP Morsi’s helicopter had not taken off from his prison near the Mediterranean city due to poor weather conditions.

He said Morsi may be transported to the court if the weather improved.

State television and police officials had earlier said Morsi landed at the police academy outside Cairo where he is being tried.

Police arrested several of Morsi’s supporters who showed up outside the police academy where he is being tried, and fired tear gas to disperse Islamist protesters in a north Cairo neighbourhood, police officials and an AFP correspondent said.

Morsi used his first court appearance on November 4 for a show of defiance from the caged dock, insisting he was still the legitimate president.

He and his co-defendants had repeatedly interrupted the proceedings with chants and impromptu speeches.

He is on trial with 14 co-defendants, including former presidential aides and leaders of his Muslim Brotherhood movement.

He and his co-defendants are being tried in a makeshift court room inside a police academy outside Cairo, the same venue being used for the trial of his deposed predecessor Hosni Mubarak on similar charges.

An Islamist coalition led by the Brotherhood had called for a “million man march” to coincide with the hearing.

Morsi’s trial is seen as a test for Egypt’s new authorities, who have come under fire for heavy-handedness.

With more than 1,000 people killed since Morsi’s overthrow and thousands of Islamists arrested, the chances of political reconciliation in the Arab world’s most populous nation are ever more remote.

Morsi will also face separate trials on charges of espionage and colluding with militants to carry out attacks in Egypt.

He was catapulted from the underground offices of the long-banned Muslim Brotherhood to become Egypt’s first freely elected president in June 2012 following Mubarak’s overthrow in an early 2011 uprising.

But his single year in power was marred by political turmoil, deadly clashes and a crippling economic crisis.

In December 2012, members of the Muslim Brotherhood attacked opposition protesters camped outside the presidential palace in protest at a decree by Morsi to grant himself extra-judiciary powers.

At least seven people were killed in the clashes, and dozens of opposition protesters were detained and beaten by Morsi’s supporters.

The incident was a turning point in Morsi’s presidency, galvanising a disparate opposition that eventually organised mass protests in June 2012 that prompted the military to oust and detain the Islamist.

Morsi’s defence says there is no proof he had incited the clashes, and that most of those killed in the violence were Brotherhood members.

Since his ouster, he and the Muslim Brotherhood have also been blamed for violence during the January and February 2011 uprising that overthrew Mubarak. During the revolt, Morsi escaped prison with thousands of inmates.

Mubarak is himself being retried for alleged involvement in the deaths of protesters during the uprising, after an appeal court overthrew a life sentence on technical grounds

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