CAIRO: Egypt’s deposed President Mohamed Morsi arrived at the courthouse on Wednesday for the second hearing in his murder trial, as police braced for rallies by his Islamist supporters.
Toppled by the military in July, Morsi is charged with inciting the killings of opposition activists in clashes outside the presidential palace in December 2012.
He used his first court appearance on November 4 for a show of defiance from the dock, insisting he was still the legitimate president.
He is on trial with 14 co-defendants, including former presidential aides and leaders of his Muslim Brotherhood movement.
Morsi arrived at the courthouse by helicopter, police officials said.
He and his co-defendants are being tried in a makeshift court room inside a police academy outside Cairo, the same venue being used for the trial of his deposed predecessor Hosni Mubarak on similar charges.
An Islamist coalition led by the Brotherhood had called for a “million man march” to coincide with the hearing, which is expected to start around 8 a.m. local time.
Morsi’s trial is seen as a test for Egypt’s new authorities, who have come under fire for heavy-handedness.
With more than 1,000 people killed since Morsi’s overthrow and thousands of Islamists arrested, the chances of political reconciliation in the Arab world’s most populous nation are ever more remote.
Morsi will also face separate trials on charges of espionage and colluding with militants to carry out attacks in Egypt.
He was catapulted from the underground offices of the long-banned Muslim Brotherhood to become Egypt’s first freely elected president in June 2012 following Mubarak’s overthrow in the Arab Spring of 2011.
But his single year in power was marred by political turmoil, deadly clashes and a crippling economic crisis.