2 Sep 2013

Morsi to be tried for inciting murder

11:17 am on 2 September 2013

Egypt's state prosecutor says he has referred ousted President Mohammed Morsi for trial on charges of inciting the murder of protesters.

Fourteen other members of the Muslim Brotherhood are to stand trial on the same charges, which relate to violence outside the presidential palace in Cairo last December when at least seven people were killed in clashes.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators had rallied outside the building on the night of 4 December and the following day in protest at what they described as Mr Morsi's illegal decrees giving him sweeping powers and also his drive to change the country's constitution.

State media now say that an investigation has revealed that Mr Morsi had asked the Republican Guard and the minister in charge of police to break up the protesters' sit-in, and when they refused to obey the order his aides called their supporters to deal with the demonstrators.

Mr Morsi, who has been held at a secret location since being deposed in July, faces a number of charges but this case is his first referral to trial, the BBC reports.

He has previously been accused of the "premeditated murder of some prisoners, officers and soldiers" when he and several Muslim Brotherhood leaders were freed during a breakout at a Cairo prison in January 2011.

He is also alleged to have plotted attacks on jails in the uprising that overthrew President Hosni Mubarak and of conspiring with the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

Since Mr Morsi was ousted from power, the military-backed interim government has cracked down on Brotherhood supporters, who are demanding his reinstatement.

Last month, hundreds of protesters died when security forces stormed pro-Morsi camps in the capital.

The date of the trial is yet to be announced.