Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat—Egyptian authorities have declared a state of alert ahead of former president Mohamed Mursi’s trial, scheduled to begin November 4 at the police institute near Tora Prison in southern Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat has learned.
The Islamist former president, who was removed from office on July 3 by the military following mass demonstrations, will stand trial on charges of inciting violence along with 14 other senior figures from the Muslim Brotherhood.
“Security measures will be tightened around the Suez Canal and the Sinai Peninsula to confront any terrorist elements’ attempts to sneak into Cairo and carry out acts of sabotage,” an interior ministry source told Asharq Al-Awsat.
The source continued: “Electronic gates will be installed on the road leading to Tora to search the journalists, families of the accused and the victims and lawyers attending the trial.”
“Security forces will be deployed near the Tora Prison and on the roofs of surrounding buildings in order to ensure security and thwart any plots to block the trial by elements affiliated with the Brotherhood,” the source said.
The sources said that security measures will be employed to protect all of the country’s important infrastructure, in response to intelligence indicating that Brotherhood supporters intend to carry out acts of sabotage throughout the country in protest against Mursi’s trial.
Meanwhile, the Islamist group has called for protests in the three days before Mursi’s trial.
In a statement, the pro-Mursi Anti-Coup Alliance has called on “all proud, free Egyptians to gather in the squares in protest against these trials… starting on Friday,” urging protesters to head towards Tora Prison on the day of the trial.
In response to the anticipated protests, a senior security source told Asharq Al-Awsat that any attempt by Brotherhood supporters to storm the courtroom or come close to the Tora Prison will be “met with full force and determination under the law.”
No judicial source in Egypt has confirmed whether Mursi’s trial will be aired on television or not.
Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, a senior Brotherhood figure stressed the necessity of the trial being broadcast.
The Brotherhood figure also demanded that a “neutral medical team accompany Mursi during the court sessions to ensure his safety.”
In other news relating to the upcoming trial, the spokesman for Mursi’s defense team, Mohamed Al-Domati, said in a statement that: “Mursi did not appoint lawyers to defend him,” noting that “Mursi can defend himself in all cases [i.e. civil cases] except criminal ones, where there must be a lawyer accompanying him during court sessions.”