London, Asharq Al-Awsat—Cairo’s Criminal court on Wednesday adjourned until March 1 the trial of former Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi on charges of inciting the killing of anti-government protesters in 2012.
Mursi, along with 14 other defendants—including former presidential aides and senior Muslim Brotherhood leaders—stand accused of inciting the deaths of protesters on December 5, 2012, outside the Ittihadiya presidential palace.
The decision to adjourn the trial comes as the Cairo Criminal Court awaits the report of a three-party committee tasked with reviewing video evidence put forward by the prosecution. At Wednesday’s hearing, the fifth since the trial began, the court officially appointed Tharwet Rahoum as Mursi’s defense lawyer after the former president refused to choose his own defense team, claiming this would be an acknowledgement of the legitimacy of the charges against him. Rahoum was appointed by Egypt’s Bar Association after the court tasked the group with hiring an attorney for Mursi. The former president’s defense team also requested additional time to prepare for cross-examination of prosecution witnesses at Wednesday’s hearing.
Speaking to local media following the court’s adjournment, lawyer Tharwat Rahoum said that the defense had issued a request calling for Defense Minister Field Marshall Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to give his testimony on the Ittihadiya protests, but that the judges’ panel had refused.
The former president appeared in court on Wednesday, standing in the dock in a soundproof cage after his frequent outbursts disrupted previous court proceedings. In prior sessions the former president had struck a defiant tone, insisting that he remains Egypt’s “legitimate” president and refusing to acknowledge the authority of the court. Agitatedly pacing the dock in a session earlier this year, he angrily asked the judge: “Who are you? Don’t you know who I am?” The judge responded: “I am the president of Egypt’s Criminal Court.”
In a second case, Mursi and 130 co-defendants are facing charges of breaking out of jail during the 2011 uprising that saw the ouster of former president Mohamed Mubarak, and conspiring with foreign groups including Hamas and Hezbollah. Hearings on those charges have been postponed until February 22.
Earlier, the trial of 48 Mursi supporters, including senior Muslim Brotherhood leaders such as General Guide Mohamed Badie, had been adjourned until February 15. The defendants stand accused of blocking public roads in Cairo during the political upheaval that followed Mursi’s ouster, in addition to charges ranging from belonging to a terrorist organization to destroying public and private property to disturbing the peace.