Mursi due back in court for Egypt protest deaths

Mursi and 14 co-defendants are charged with involvement in the killing of opposition protesters in December 2012

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Deposed Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi was due back in court on Saturday over his alleged involvement in the killing of protesters in clashes during his rule, Agence France-Presse reported.

The case is part of a relentless crackdown against Mursi and his Muslim Brotherhood after a popularly-backed coup ousted him on July 3, ending a turbulent year in office.

Mursi and 14 co-defendants are charged with involvement in the killing of opposition protesters during clashes outside his Cairo palace in December 2012.

Sisi gaining more power

As the trial resumes, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the former army chief who toppled Mursi, moves closer to replacing him in next month’s presidential election.

On Friday, Sisi’s campaign said he had already received thousands of signatures from supporters needed to register his candidacy.

Sisi, who is expected to easily win the May 26-27 election, is view by his supporters as a savior for putting an end to Islamist rule after Mursi’s divisive single year in office.

But the Brotherhood and other Islamist groups accuse Sisi of leading a coup against Egypt’s first democratically elected president, unleashing strife that killed almost 2,000 people since July.

Morsi faces two other trials for espionage and militancy related charges, part of the worst crackdown on Islamists in decades.

He may be sentenced to death if convicted.


Rights campaigner deported

On Friday, Egyptian authorities deported one rights campaigner hours after he flew in to deliver a petition against death sentences imposed on 529 of Mursi supporters, Reuters reported.

Wissam Tarif, a Lebanese citizen from international group Avaaz, was hoping to hand over the appeal at a meeting with the grand mufti, Egypt’s top religious authority who reviews all death sentences.

Last month’s mass sentencing of the 529 members of Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood in the southern province of Minya was widely criticized by rights organizations and Western governments.

Most of the men were found guilty of murder, carrying out attacks and other offences during clashes after the forced dispersal of two Muslim Brotherhood protest camps in Cairo on Aug. 14.

(With AFP and Reuters)

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