Egypt braces as Morsi set to appear in court

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CAIRO: Egypt is bracing for deposed president Mohamed Morsi to go on trial Monday, when he is expected to make his first public appearance since the military ousted him in July.

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Morsi’s supporters, hammered by a bloody and far-reaching police campaign since the Islamist president’s overthrow and arrest, are determined not to allow the day to pass quietly.

“This is not just a trial of an elected president, it’s a trial of the people’s will,” said Imam Yousef, a protest leader in the pro-Morsi Anti-Coup Alliance.

The coalition, led by Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, has called for peaceful protests as the trial convenes at a police academy adjacent to Cairo’s Tora prison, where much of the Brotherhood’s leadership is jailed.

Police say they are ready to deal with any outbreak of violence.

“There is a security plan to secure the court and [Morsi’s] transport to the court room,” a police general said.

The security official said 20,000 policemen will be deployed on full alert in Cairo.

With more than 1,000 killed since Morsi’s overthrow, and thousands of Islamists arrested, hopes for a political settlement between the Islamists and the army-installed government already are slim.

Morsi is charged alongside 14 others with inciting the murder of protesters outside his palace in December 2012.

He had been held at a Cairo military installation but was moved after his supporters clashed with soldiers outside the building on July 8 and more than 50 people were killed.

The military will bring him from the secret location to the court in a helicopter, a security official said.

Morsi, according to relatives and the few officials who were given access to him, remains defiant.

Unlike his predecessor Hosni Mubarak, also on trial facing similar charges, he will not cooperate with the court, said the Anti-Coup Alliance.

The deposed president “does not recognize the authority of the court,” it said.

His lawyers will attend the hearing only as observers, it added.

AFP

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